Catcher In The Rye Analysis

Powerful Essays
Raye Cheng Catcher in the Rye Summer Reading
July 17, 2015

1. Holden Caulfield, the main character in the novel The Catcher in the Rye, despises phonies, people depicted as corrupt and hypocritical characters, and though Holden appear to not be a phony, there are instances when he definitely does seem to be one. Holden loathes phonies for their hypocritical and superficial personalities, which he thinks is evident in almost all adults. He explains his hatred for these people when he elaborates on his reasoning for leaving Elkton Hills: “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. . .Mr. Haas, that was the phoniest bastard I ever met in my life. . .He’d be charming as hell and
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Holden Caulfield’s uncompleted calls with the people he says he is going to call may symbolize his uncompleted education and his seemingly incapability of completing anything. Holden’s numerous failed calls seems to be an accurate description of his education and his inability to follow through on his words. He decides to call many people throughout the novel, and fails to do so, especially in trying to call Jane Gallagher. Again to after the piano bar: “Finally what I felt like, I felt like giving old Jane a buzz . . .But when I got inside the phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood anymore” (195). When asked about education by old Spencer, Holden says that “[Pencey] is about the fourth school [he’s] gone to” (13). Holden decides to call many people and doesn’t follow through on many occasions, just like his education, dropping out of four different schools. Holden also cannot focus during lectures, though he claims that the class is interesting which leads to his failure in Mr. Spencer’s class. Not only does his education seem to be incomplete, Holden also cannot finish anything else. Throughout the whole novel, Holden says that he will do something, but he often does not follow through. One of these examples was when the prostitute came into his hotel room. Holden says to the prostitute, “I don’t feel very much like myself tonight. . . but do you mind very much if we don’t do it” (125). Holden could not even complete his request for a prostitute. He asks for a …show more content…
J.D. Salinger uses various symbols in The Catcher in the Rye to portray Holden Caulfield’s feelings towards others and the world. The Museum of Natural History symbolizes Holden’s wanting of staying young and not going into the phony adult world. Holden despises the adult world obviously due to the phonies, but he also despises the continuous flow of life and having to move on. He greatly mourns the death of his brother Allie, but he feels that it has no effect on his parents because the adult world must always move on. The Museum depicts the world that he imagines and yearns for: a never-changing environment where everything stays the same for years. He explains his thought as he waits for Phoebe: “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the bird would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole. . .” (157). The Eskimos, the birds, and the deer always stay the same in the museum, just like he wishes that people and the world would stay innocent in youth and not grow into the superficial adult world. Salinger’s use of symbolism is effective in the sense of portraying Holden Caulfield’s mindset, especially in using the

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