The Catcher in the Rye: ISU Questions
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Holden’s attitude towards his parents seems negative because judging by the way he describes them, they sound touchy and overbearing with very high expectations. Pencey is a private school and his parents wanted him there, which gives us the impression that they expect a lot from him, and he can’t, or chooses not to give it to them.
Holden is isolated at Pencey by; Pencey is an all boys school, and being a teenage boy, girls are something that make up a teenage boys life and he can’t be a part of that life, by messing up as fencing team manager and leaving all of the equipment in New York, forcing the whole team to ostracize him, and because he was flunking four subjects in a private school, a school filled with scholars and top students.
Holden feels that Ackley is “peculiar”, by always barging in on him and basically being a very awkward guy. His description of Ackley shows us that he is a pimply nerd that no one really knows. He is untidy and unhygienic. As for Stradlater, Holden feels that he is a big bumbling guy who can be annoying, and a phony like everyone else, but he can’t help but be loved. Holden also calls Stradlater a “secret slob” because he seems to be well groomed but his razor and other toiletries are unclean.
Allie is Holden’s brother who came down with leukemia and passed away. Holden feels very strongly about his younger brother Allie, shown by sentences like, “You’d have liked him,” and “He was also the nicest, in lots of ways.” Later in the book, his little sister asks him if he likes anything. Holden replies by saying, “I like Allie.” This shows that after having him gone for so long, he still really misses having him around and proves that Holden really liked him.
Holden went to see Mr. Spencer to say good-bye to him because he wouldn’t see him again until Christmas. Mr. Spencer also wrote Holden a note saying he wanted to see him before Holden went home because he knew that Holden got kicked out.
Holden decided to go to New York because he wanted to get away from Pencey, to get away and brighten up before going home on Wednesday.
I would not consider Holden a “normal teenager” in today’s era, but knowing that this book takes place in an older time period and comparing it to older movies and books, it easy to tell that Holden is a stereotypical “normal teenager” judging by his speech, his behaviour, and his mind set. When Holden speaks, everyone and everything is a “phony”, a “bastard”, a “sunovabitch”, a “goddam” something, and finishes most sentences with “and all.” He is obviously a talented English student because that was the only subject he managed to pass at Pencey, even though he was not applying himself, but like most teenagers, they choose not to speak with proper grammar or an extensive vocabulary. Besides his “normal teenager” speech, Holden also acts like a “normal teenager” would. He tries to order drinks in bars, he flunks school classes, and talks about girls and sex quite a bit, referring to himself as “probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.” Sex is a huge part of a teenage boys life and Holden makes it clear that he likes to talk about it, with himself and with his friends, another “normal teenager” activity. His mind set also makes it easy to consider Holden as a “normal teenager”. He has a lack of ambition which lead him to flunking courses, he rebels against his parents, he considers running away from his problems, he has sex on his mind, and he talks about depression quite a bit. These are all normal things for a teenager, which makes Holden a “normal teenager” but judging by his speech, he is normal in a different era and not 2008.
Holden explains his concern for the ducks in the lagoon as plain curiosity, but one could read deeper into that. The ducks leave the pond when it becomes frozen and undesirable, and...
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