The Loneliness of Holden Caulfield

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The Loneliness of Holden Caulfield
in the Catcher in the Rye

Abstract: Though controversial, the novel the Catcher in The Rye appealed to a great number of people. It was a hugely popular bestseller and general critical success. The Catcher in the Rye was frequently read as a tale of an individual’s alienation within a heartless world. Holden seemed to stand for young people everywhere, who felt themselves be set on all sides by pressures to grow up and live their lives according to the rules, to disengage from meaningful human connection. In his age, young people can easily feel lonely. This feeling is universal to young people.

Key words: loneliness, Holden,

Biography of the Author
Born in New York City on the first day of 1919, J.D. Salinger is the son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. After brief periods of enrollment at both NYU and Columbia University, Salinger devoted himself entirely to writing, and by 1940 he had published several short stories in periodicals. Although his career as a writer was interrupted by World War II, Salinger returned from service in 1946 and resumed his career, writing primarily for The New Yorker, as well as many other well-known publications.

Salinger has continually enjoyed major critical and popular acclaim with The Catcher in the Rye, the story of Holden Caulfield, a rebellious boarding-school student who attempts to run away from the adult world that he finds "phony." In many ways reminiscent of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Salinger's only novel finds great sympathy for its wayward child protagonist. It drew from characters he had created in two short stories published in 1945 and 1946, "This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise" and "I'm Crazy." The latter story is an alternate take on several of the chapters in The Catcher in the Rye (1935).

Since 1953, Salinger has resided in Cornish, New Hampshire, and claims that he continues to write. Although details about Salinger are notoriously vague because of his reclusiveness, he has become the subject of much speculation. Personal information about Salinger is therefore limited but in great demand. In the memoir of Maynard, an eighteen-year-old female student at Yale who later left college to live with Salinger for nine months, information revealed that Salinger's demand for privacy stemmed from his awareness that his private activities, including several relationships with young women like Maynard, would ultimately ruin his reputation.

Two collections of his work, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, all of which had appeared previously in The New Yorker, were published in book form in the early 1960s. Salinger died at his home on January 27, 2010 Introduction

The Catcher in The Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, alienation,[and rebellion. It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million books. The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.

Summary of Plot
The story takes the form of first person narrative by Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old student who had been kicked out of three private schools, or four if counting in Pencey prep, after the expulsion from where Holden began his story. Holden had been the manager of the school fencing team until he lost all their foils on the subway. At the end of the semester, Holden failed four out of his five subjects, thus being driven out of the forth school he had attended. Because he was not supposed to leave until Wednesday, he paid a visit to his history teacher Mr. Spencer, who told him that “life is a game” and one should “play it according to the rules,” Holden dismissed much of what Spencer said. Back to his dorm, Holden wrote a...
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