The Catcher in the Rye, a Medley of Failure

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The Catcher in the Rye, a Medley of Failure
All humans make mistakes, unfortunately, Holden Caulfield is notorious for committing one too many. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye appears to be a long string of consecutive failures for the protagonist. The novel describes his attempt to reconcile with these failures and find a path that suits his qualities and desires. However Holden can not find a way to succeed and even Mr. Antolini says, “This fall I think you’re riding for – it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling” (187). This whole fall that Holden is heading on seems to have started with the flunking out of school. Holden’s largest failure appears to be his inability to apply himself at school and achieve an educational degree.

Dropping in and out of school results in immediate consequences such as wasting his parent’s money and receiving much criticism from family and friends. He won’t be able to make any long term friends by switching schools every year and will continue in the cycle of academic failure unless he decides to change. Holden’s parents might finally get fed up with his lack of effort in school and cut off the flow of parental funding and make him live on his own. Holden will find it tough to live on his own since he had trouble with those few lonely days living in hotels without a support group. It will also be difficult for Holden to find a job since some type of degree is required for most jobs. Holden must adjust to this new lifestyle of self sufficiency that does not come natural being raised in a rich family.

After several years, the long term effects begin to set in. He will regret not taking the opportunity to receive an education, but can not go back to get a degree because he has to work several jobs to keep up with the expense of living in the big city. Holden will have faced alienation from past friends and...
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