The number of readers who have been may be to determine withHolden and make him their hero is important staggering. Other abouthis discontent, and his vivid way of to express it, makes him resonate powerfullywith readers that come from backgrounds fully different fromhis. The is tempting to inhabit his point of view and also revel in hiscantankerousness fairly than try to deduce what is wrong with him.The evident signs that Holden is a troubled and unreliable narratorare manifold: he stops working out of four schools; the manifests completeapathy towards his future; he is hospitalized, and also visited by a psychoanalyst,for one unspecified complaint; and he is unable to connect with otherpeople. We recognize of two traumas in his past that plainly have somethingto perform with his emotionally state: the fatality of his brothers Allie andthe suicide of one of his schoolmates. But, even with that knowledge,Holden’s peculiarities cannot just be explained away together symptomsof a easily identifiable disorder.

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The most noticeable the Holden’s “peculiarities” is just how extremelyjudgmental he is of almost everything and also everybody. The criticizesand philosophizes about people who room boring, people who space insecure,and, over all, people who are “phony.” Holden carries this penchantfor passing referee to such severe that it regularly becomes extremelyfunny, together as once he speculates that people are so crass thatsomeone will most likely write “fuck you” top top his tombstone. Holdenapplies the ax “phony” not to human being who room insincere however tothose who room too typical or too typical—for instance, teacherswho “act like” teachers by presume a different demeanor in classthan they carry out in conversation, or people who dress and act prefer theother members of your social class. When Holden supplies the label“phony” to suggest that such civilization are superficial, his use of theterm actually shows that his very own perceptions of various other peopleare superficial. In almost every case, that rejects more facility judgmentsin donate of straightforward categorical ones.

A 2nd facet of Holden’s personality the deservescomment is his attitude toward sex. Holden is a virgin, but he isvery interested in sex, and, in fact, that spends much of the noveltrying to lose his virginity. He feels strongly that sex shouldhappen between people who treatment deeply around and respect one another,and the is uncomfortable by the realization that sex deserve to be casual. Stradlater’sdate with Jane doesn’t simply make that jealous; the infuriates himto think that a girl he to know well having sex through a young she doesn’tknow well. Moreover, he is disturbed by the reality that the is arousedby ladies whom he doesn’t respect or treatment for, favor the blonde touristhe dances v in the Lavender Room, or choose Sally Hayes, who herefers to together “stupid” also as that arranges a date with her. Finally,he is disturbed by the fact that that is aroused by kinky sex-related behavior—particularlybehavior that isn’t respectful of one’s sex partner, such as spittingin one’s partner’s face. Back Holden refers to such behavioras “crumby,” he admits that it is quite fun, although the doesn’tthink the it need to be.

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A brief note about Holden’s name: a “caul” is a membranethat consists the head of a fetus during birth. Thus, the caul inhis name may symbolize the remote of childhood or the inabilityof the son to view the complexity of the adult world. Holden’sfull name could be review as Hold-on Caul-field: he desires to holdon to what the sees as his innocence, i beg your pardon is really his blindness.


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The Catcher in the Rye Literature guide


Ace her assignments with our guide to The Catcher in the Rye!