Catcher in the Rye Holdens Faliure in the Journey of Life

Topics: Want, Accept, The Catcher in the Rye Pages: 4 (1583 words) Published: October 31, 2005
The Catcher in the Rye, by Jerome David Salinger, reveals the hardships that teenagers endure as they mature and enter adulthood. In this novel, Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year -old who has been kicked out of several schools, undergoes a gamut of problems. First, at the beginning of the novel, it is clear that Holden has a difficulty accepting himself and others; he constantly defines people as "phony". Secondly, as the novel progresses it becomes evident that Holden does not want to enter adulthood. Both problems lead to Holden's failure in his journey of life. Holden's problem in life is that he is very judgmental of almost everything and everyone; this leads him to become isolated, unhappy and lonely. First, he criticizes people who are boring, insecure, and above all, people who are "phonies". Holden's use of the word "phony" stands for everything that is wrong in society; this gives him an excuse to withdraw into his own cynical world. Throughout the novel, Holden is continuously scrutinizing "phony" people. Ossenburger, of Pencey Prep, is an example of the "phony" people Holden encounters. Holden believes that Ossenburger is phony because he is making money off of dead people. Moreover, Ossenburger emphasizes that he talks to Jesus. This leads Holden to think of him as a bigger phony because he believes that he talks to Jesus, to send him more "stiffs" to get more business (17). Although this cynicism reveals the effect of his scrutiny of others, it also shows readers that Holden has a problem accepting death, and accepting the fact that people have to do this kind of business as a part of life. This posses a problem, because the fact that Ossenburger is successful compels Holden to think about his own ability to become successful some day. The fact that Holden has been expelled from school, and has continued to fail his courses, leads him to doubt his own ability to succeed in life. Thus leading him to become more depressed and isolated from society....
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