The Catcher in the Rye
‘Holden Caufield is an Island’
John Donne’s quote, ‘No man is an island’ connects quite directly to Holden Caulfield in ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ Holden’s character is very relative to themes such as isolation, loneliness and non-conformity.
Holden has a very distinct character; he has many features, which would describe him as quite a lonely, cynical young man. It is evident that a past of his has had such an effect on him that the adolescence he has become quite a rocky journey for him; the death of his brother Allie, and the suicide of one of his schoolmates included. How is Holden Caulfield an island? Well, the quote itself – ‘No man is an island’ – can be interpreted that no man will thrive in isolation, such as an island. Holden has isolated himself from the conforming ways of society. This explains why he finds it so hard to be close to people, and why people find it so hard to get close to him; because he is so different. Holden’s character can be described as one that is flying off the rails. Some events throughout the novel regarding alcohol and drugs, relationships and Holden’s whereabouts show that he is simply trying to be something he isn’t. Holden Caulfield is an island, throughout the novel, a word to describe him best would be ‘alone.’ Those who attempt to help him, guide him and be there for him, such as Spencer and Mr. Antolini, generally fail as Holden makes a quick escape from their guiding hands. In some ways, Holden can be seen as a hero. It is much harder to go against the grain alone, than to follow along in the footsteps of others. Holden can be understood as a leader, rather than a follower. Although his purpose is not quite evident, his journey is still worth so much. Holden’s personality includes features, which define him as a very judgmental person. He often uses the term ‘phoney’ to describe people who aren’t true to themselves and who according to him, squeezing into a certain cut out. Holden is...
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