January 26, 2014
Holden’s Other Side
In life, we meet people who exhibit totally different aspects to their personalities. In The Catcher in the Rye, Hold Caulfield displays many qualities as he struggles through a difficult adolescence. One side of him is immature, annoying, and coldhearted, yet the other side to him is mature, lovely, and caring. Although Holden frequently shows both of his sides, he exhibits more signs of sensitivity and maturity than cold-heartedness and immaturity. When Holden sneaks into his house to visit with his little sister Phoebe, he demonstrates how sensitive he is. He wants to protect Phoebe and keep her safe. Holden does not usually enjoy talking to people; however, he does enjoy talking to Phoebe. Holden indicates this by saying, talking to her felt “swell for a change…it just felt well” (159). Holden demonstrates his sensitivity when he listens to his younger sister and wants to talk and catch up with her. Another time when Holden is sensitive is while drinking at the Wicker Bar with Luce. A seemingly immature Holden badgers Luce, the more experienced of the two, for details about sexual exploits with an older woman. Holden goes on, however, to complain of his own poor sex life: unless he truly likes a girl, he “can’t get really sexy with her” (191). Although his absolute need for experience drives him, his need for respect and emotional connection with a girl keeps him from taking action. The desire for respect overrules the desire for sex. Although Holden cares about very few things, he does care about the ducks who migrate to the south in winter, and he is curious about what happens to them. The first time Holden wonders about the ducks is when his History teacher, Old Spencer, berates him about not trying hard enough in school. Instead of paying attention to Old Spencer, Holden thinks about what happens to the ducks when the Central Park lagoon freezes. Holden tells us he was wondering “where the...
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