Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye In chapter two, Holden reveals some of his most important traits through his interaction with Mr. Spencer. In this scene, it is the first time you see Holden communicating with someone, but even in the beginning, he is apathetic the lesson Mr. Spencer is trying to teach him. However, although he looks at someone like Mr.

Spencer negatively, he justifies his or her imperfections and keeps from disliking someone too strongly. Unfortunately, Holden does the same to himself as he does to others. He cannot decide who he is and it reveals itself when he cannot relate others. Communicating is Holdens major flaw and Mr. Spencer points it out.

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In the scene with Mr. Spencer Holden said that he thinks about old Spencer a lot. Holden looks down on old Spencer because he views Spencer as living a sorry existence. He mentions that Spencer spends most of his time sick in bed and is so useless that he needs someone to pick up his chalk when he drops it. He explains that he does not know why old Spencer is even living.

Holden says, “I just mean that I used to think about old Spencer a lot, and if you thought about him too much, you wondered what the heck he was still living for.” Holden looked negatively upon Spencer, but as Holden does frequently later in the book, Holden justifies old Spencers life. “Thats awful in my opinion. But if you thought about him just enough and not too much, you could figure out that he wasnt too bad for himself.” Holden therefore looks at both the negative and positive sides of a person. He does the same to sally. He repeats that “shes phony as hell” and gives him a “pain in the ass” but he tells her that she is the only reason he stays in New York.

He wanted her to run off to the forest with him. Holden also dislikes the way that Luce is such a big hot shot, but he never hates him because Holden thinks he is one of the few people with whom he can speak intellectually. As soon as Holden becomes angry with someone, he looks at his or her human side and tempers his opinion about them. Regrettably, Holden does the same to himself. It keeps him from deciding many things about him.

Consequently, Holden feels that cannot relate with anyone, which breaks the basic structure of communication. He tries to communicate. He invites Sunny up to his room mostly because he was lonely and longs to talk. Frequently, Holden fails when he makes the effort to connect. Instead, he tells Sunny that he just had an operation. He makes up lies.

He lies to almost every one on his journey. Including Mrs. Morrow, Sunny, and Sally. He never even gets in touch with Jane. Holden lies to old Spencer and tells him that he is going to change, which at that point was a lie. This aspect of himself further alienates him from society.

Holdens problem with communication is additionally addressed when Mr. Spencer asks Holden if he had communicated with his parents. Holden never gets in touch with his parent throughout the whole story. Not even to his mother whom he respects. This scene is a mark importance because it is the first time you see Holden interacting with someone. In it, Salinger introduces Holdens character, and includes main themes like Holdens battle with phonies.

He does not connect with Spencer because he says he is a pathetic phony. Subconsciously, Holden cannot relate to anyone although he may not realize it. He lies to almost everyone he meets and it has devastating effects. He feels isolated. He feels alone in the world with no one he can talk to. He withdraws himself from society. Holden needs to belong, because to belong is one of mans most satisfying feelings and without it, any person will feel lost.

Catcher In The Rye

Catcher in the Rye
The theme that the world has an outward appearance that seems fair and perfect but really they’re as Holden put it “phonies.” This is shown countless amount of times in his journey through New York and even before he left. The setting is in the 1950’s; so I’m pretty sure that he didn’t encounter any transvestites, lesbians, or anything that extreme of phoniest. Or on the other hand he could have liked them for being as Elmemson said a “none conformist.” But I doubt it, he seemed to like kids more than anything. And his job, as he felt, was to protect them in their innocents; of which I will talk about in my second theme. The first example that stands out in my mind is the scene with Stradlater in the “can.” If you remember Stradlater was getting ready for his other date while Holden watched him. “Stradlater was a secret slob” in public he always looked good and got all the girls but in fact he was a slob. His razor that made him look so good was “rusty as hell and full on lather and hair and crap.” This proves that he is a slob to “never clean it or anything.” If you think about it that’s even worst than Old Ackley. At least Ackley knew that he had a problem, that he need to do something about his face; but Stradlater thought that he was a great guy. He actually thought that there was nothing wrong with never washing his razor. I think that what mad, Holden so made Stradlater was perpetrating in other word being “phony” every time he went out all GQ after using that filthy razor. Another instance is when he calls that girl in New York, Faith Cavendish, that Eddie Birdsell had brought to a dance at Princeton. Anyway he called her and she almost went off until Holden drooped Eddie’s name. Then all of a sudden “she was getting friendly as hell.” The same person said “if you think I enjoy bein’ woke up in the middle-” was “getting an english accent all of a sudden.” I think Holden caught her with her facade down. When she first picked up the phone she was mad as anybody else would be in her shoes. But as soon as she processed “Eddie Birdsell from Princeton” she became so amicable. She most of thought that a friend of Eddie, from Princeton, most have been rich or at lest well off. Faith was all ready to hook up with him for a date until she asked “Where ya callin’ from? Where ya at now, anyways?” And “in a phone booth” was the wrong answer. When he said that she new he had no money and from that point on she had no time to meet up any more. This is a good example of the phoniest that Holden will talk about all through book. Oh and one I almost missed it is a little before the conversation with Faith it is a very important event. When J.D. Salinger had Holden look about of the window I think it was a big simile, of which I think about more in theme number 3, of the theme of the book. I’m sure Holden didn’t ride all the way to New York to pick a run down hotel. So I take it when he drove up it probably looked good on the outside. He even “took it off referring to the red hunting hat before I checked inI didn’t want to look like a screwball or something.” So we can assume it was nice, or at lest on the outside. Salinger even throw Holden foreshadowed a little in the line “I didn’t know then that the goddam hotel was full of perverts and morons.” The first guy he saw out his room window “took out all these women’s clothes, and put them on.” Then he started walking around like a women, smoking a cigarette, and looking in the mirror. And now I guest I have to take back my sentence about transvestites in the opening paragraph. Second he saw a couple squiring water and “they were in hysterics the whole time,” a little strange. You see the outside of the hotel represents what society is or tries to be, all nice and neat. And the people acting silly in the rooms are what we a really like. Im not saying we are all perverts but we all have two different personalities; one outside and one inside closed doors. Since I’m will into the second page and it’s past my bed time or at lest it feels like it is this is the last one for this theme. The one I had in mind is the one the date he had with Sally. From the jump she was phony. Holden had already talked to her dad and told him how it was, but she still asked how it was. Holden when call her “quite a little phony,” she even sounded phony through the book with lines like “I’d love to grand.” And when they got through with the play on the Lunts it didn’t get any better. They ran into this guy that Sally knew and both of their phoniest began to shine. “You’ve though that they hadn’t seen each other for twenty years” they probably even hugged and kissed checks and all. And the funny thing is that “they probably met each other only once.” And from that point on they went on a quest to outname the other. “They both kept thinking of places as fast as they could” trying to get the upper-hand in a game of illusion. They both were trying to, I guest, show they are more popular than the other by making it seem like they known all these places and people, when in actuality they were two big phonies. The next Theme of this story that I want to talk about is the significance of the novel’s title. First of all I have to say why the book was entitle as it was “The Catcher in the Rye.” The title of the book is a mystery all the way until chapter 21 when he sneaked back home to see Phoebe. When Phoebe fronted him about getting kicked out of school again saying “you don’t like anything” Holden was forced to come up with something he would enjoy to be or do. After minutes of pondering Holden said “I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.” He just wanted to save the little innocent kids from falling. The kids I think represent the innocents of the young just playing and when they fall off the cliff they discover the world. He wants to protect them and keep them pure will. All through the story Salinger used Holden as the catcher on the rye to protect or try to protect the innocents of kids. The biggest and most memorial of this protection is when he went to Phoebe elementary school to talk to her before he had to leave. Anyway he saw the word fuck you on the hall walls and “it drove him dam near crazy.” He couldn’t stand the idea that Phoebe or her friend had seen that on the wall. If they saw it they would wonder and eventually “some dirty kid would tell them” and they would know the cruel the world thus falling in the rye. As his duty as the catcher in t…..he rye Holden tried to erase the first one that was on the walls, but later said “it’s hopeless anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the fuck you signs in the world. Its impossible.” Now I think the word tragedy goes right there. If the job that Holden is set out to do is inevitable then it’s a tragedy. Salinger illustrates a full blown tragedy with a 15 year old boy; it sounds a lot like the classic we read last year Romeo and Juliet. A young boy, even the same age, is placed in a no win situation. The next one I just thought about is the time Holden got a snow ball off the window cell. This has nothing to go with protecting but it is about purity. Holden got some show from off the window pan and he “started to throw it” but after looking out at the scene he decides not to. He said he stared it throw it at a car and fire hydrogen but they looked “too nice and white.” Holden is consumed with finding and protecting purity, and when he found something pure he didn”t want to disturb it. But it’s strange how he used the words “nice and white,” I know that the snow was white but is there something more there. White is often associated with pure and even holiness. He may be comparing it to a holy site; because he does ask Ackley about joining later in the book. You never know. Theme number three is going to be a discussing about Salinger and his symbolism. Salinger is a master of the subtle symbolism. He lays his symbols so subtle that most of the time they’re not even found or addressed even by a commentary over the book. I really enjoyed reading and rereading this book to find embedding symbols. I think that’s what made it so good. A very important character that is referred to all throgh the story by Holden is Allie. Allie is Holder’s younger brother who died of leukemia when he was just thirteen. Holden loved his brother more than anything and when he died he punched out all the windows in the garage. He said that “my hand still hurts me once in a while.” This is symbolic of the love he had and still has for his little brother; he even quotes latter that “you don’t stop loving someone because they die” proving that he still cares for him. He may even think he had something to do with his death or he caused it. Sometimes little kids think stuff like that. Holden also says that ” I can’t make a real fist any more-not a tight one.” If his fist represents his love for his brother or his heart than maybe he can’t love again. When he meet up with Sally he said he felt like marring her than he discards it by saying “I don’t even like her much.” Holden is afraid to love again because of the way his heart and fist was broken by Allie. Another symbol is his own sister Phoebe. First you must understand that Phoebe came from the Greek word meaning Sun. Holden is lost in the world and feels that everything is “phony.” Phoebe is his symbol of hope in the world. All Holden needs is hope. Just as the sun comes out and shines it’s beautiful color and truth to the world to nurrshish and feed the plant; so did Phoebe come with her innocent hands saving Holden from the world. “The first thing I did when I got off at Penn station, I went into this phone booth.” Holden first started to call his brother but then he thought of his sitter Phoebe, then he whet on about her and how she wouldn’t mind being woke up. All through the book he will think about call and eventually sneak home just to see her. This shows he sees her as his only light in this world of phonies hint the name Phoebe Greek for sun. I read a very interesting point in a book review about The Catcher in the Rye that explains the Holden behavior all through the book. In short it said his activities “describes a developing nervous breakdown.” And if you think of the symptoms you would a agree. Unexplained depression, show countless time in the story as “I felt depressed as hell.” And the why that Salinger keep using the world depressed, not bad or mellow but depressed he may have been hinting at it. Impulsive spending, that is obvious through the fact he only had “3 dollars and some change” after just 2 days in New York. Erratic behavior, example is Holden just jumping up and put Stradlater in a “half Nelson.” All of this is prior to his eventual nervous collapse. This book has been a joy to read. Holden was very funny at times especially when he called Sally to ask her about “trim a tree” for Christmas. Salinger is ether a great writer or he just lucked up this good of a story. Sometimes I wonder if the author of books always think as deep as the reader. I mean do authors read a commentary over a book they wrote and say, hmm I didn’t think of that. Writers like Edgar Allen are obvious that they have a deeper meaning. But with Salinger it’s hard to tell if this is a simple story of a boy rebelling or is it a great big metaphor for the world and how we are. Now if you ask him I,m sure he would say “oh that’s what meant exactly,” and he might as well have meant that; but who is to say.


Catcher In The Rye: Holden’s Breif Happiness Abbreviated Happiness After Holden Caulfield returns to his native New York and rents a room in a sleezy hotel, he makes a date with Sally Hayes. Before this date, Holden finds himself wanderin the streets of the naked city. He is feeling depressed and finds himself on Broadway trying to purchase a record for his sister. After making this purchase, Holden notices a poor family walking in front of him. This unit is composed of a father, mother, and “little kid.” Holden notices the child who is walking in a straight line in the street and humming a tune to himself. Holden approaches him to determine the tune he is singing. This tune is “If a Body Catch a Body Coming Through the Rye.” Holden finds it amusing that the child is strutting quite literally on Broadway and is so care-free. He notices cars screeching and honking all over the place, and yet the child proceeds. The child’s happy disposition seems encourage Holden’s on vitality. It gripped Holden that the child was singing with “a pretty little voice…just for the hell of it” and brightened him up. A deeper interpertation of this scene would dictate that the child represents Holden’s own personality and life. Holden is defenatley singing his own tune just for the hell of it and like the child, seems to have no regard for his own well-being. At this point, Holden may see a side in himself that is care-free and this lightens his depression.

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Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye In this book, the main character, Holden McField, tells the story about what happened during his Summer vacation. Holden is a sixteen-year-old boy who has flunked out of a private prep school. Because he is afraid that his parents would find out this fact, he goes to a hotel in Las Vegas instead of going home after he leaves school for Summer vacation. In Las Vegas, many things happen to him within a few weeks. For example, he goes to the hotel bar and meets two women after he first arrives there.

The women go away soon after he fails to talk with them, and Holden feels lonely and depressed. He goes to another bar to find someone to spend some time with, but he fails to find anyone to talk to and comes back to the hotel feeling more intent on finding a woman. In the hotel, he meets a prostitute, but he sends her back without having sex because he has trouble with his “clavichord”. He was further disappointed when she tries to rob him of his money even though he tried to have sex with her. In the next morning, he has a date with an old girl friend, and asks her to give him her car so that he can drive to the Ivory Coast. However, she tells him he is “too cute” and then leaves him. Holden meets some more people later, but they also cannot solve his problems, and he feels more and more depressed and lonely.

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He finally decides to run away and live as a forest ranger who will not need to communicate with anyone but the bears. Before leaving, he goes to say good-bye to his little brother, Jason, who he admires the most. While talking and playing with him, Holden changes his mind and decides to rejoin his family and because he realizes there are many things that he cannot solve by himself, and he knows that his father can solve everything for him. His fater, being a casino owner, has taught Holden everything he knows and can help him out now. The theme of this novel is how schools are corrupted by society.

Holden thinks everybody who is grown up is immature because their behavior and advice are all superficial. The title of this book is based on an old game where someone catches children from jumping off a field of rye into a pit of spikes. This symbolizes that Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye because he wants to protect the small things, especially to prevent small children from losing their lives and becoming corrupted by school as they learn about diferent subjects. Holden Caulfield is an amusing character because he talks about everyone without any respect, but with much irreverence to himself. This is shown thorough the language he uses which includes slang and swear words. Even though Holden believes in the institutions of society, he is a pessimistic character because he seems to find something dangerous in almost everything and everyone.

For instance, his old girlfriend Stephanie has a tendency for violence when the subject of sex is touched upon. He is also a depressed character because he feels dormant most of the time, and he never finds any place where he feels comfortable, except for the Cozy Inn. He doesn’t fit into society because of his profound genious and superfluous intellect This is shown very well when he says: “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, nobody’s around- nobody big, I mean- except the big bully. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy pit.

What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go into the pit- I mean if they’re running and they don’t look they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.” This shows Holden’s compassion and sensitivity very well, but it also shows Salinger’s need to live vicariously through his characters. Salinger always wanted to use his life to help others by becoming a doctor, but he was unable to get accepted to medical school.

He was then forced to go into writing, a decision which his regret can be seen through his works. Salinger seems to be too good a person to be in this corrupt world, where a selected profession cannot always be attained. The style of this book is unusual because it is told by a sixteen-year-old boy who appears to be sympathetic since he is so amusing. However, one of the problems with this style is that some of the things he observes might not be true, but somewhat exaggerated and fibbed. We are not very sure that he is even mentally stable since he tells us the story from a maximum security institution. Despite these things, this style is highly effective because it get’s the reader to really love Holden and be sympathetic to him.

I liked this book very much because it talks about the concerns of teenagers who feel the pressures of school. Although some parts of the message of this book can be dangerous because they suggest rejecting school and family and friends, it also made me think about many things filled with the false standards, and I could find some of the real truths. I also appreciate the way Holden talks which is very comical even though he’s dealing with a serious and sad subject of the death of his favorite teacher Mr. Pemberton.

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