Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye The title of the book A Catcher in the Rye is reflected in the mistaken words of a poem by Robert Burns. Holden thought it was “If a body catch a body coming through the rye.” That’s what he wanted to be. The only older individual in a group of kids in the rye, that he would catch them before they fall off the cliff. Many events caused this belief or illusion that he could stop people falling off and eventually he came to many realisations. Holden Caulfield was (believe it or not) an average teenager in an adult world with many conflicting ideas and thoughts.

He was trying to establish his own personality, and was searching for secure values. Yet, he found nearly everyone and everything to be “phoney”. He observed that the principal shook hands with rich parents while discarding the poorer and that most people were hypocrites. It was these (plus many more “phoney) elements that Holden did not want the kids to see – kids like Phoebe. He was protecting them against the adult and materialistic world and was ‘catching’ them before they fell.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

He had already seen too many ‘falls’ and in fact it was these people who ‘fell’ who fell into the category of non-phoniness. This was probably because Holden’s memories of them remained pure. Many people fell. James Castle ‘fell’ out of the window and Allie ‘fell’ to death. He thought that these innocent people had gone.

They had been eaten by the phoniness and that they didn’t have a ‘catcher’ to protect them from harm. Holden wanted to prevent any more of this happening by being the ‘catcher’ himself. But being the ‘catcher’ it distanced himself from many characters in the book. He stayed away from everyone who he thought was phony, hypocritical, or had bad habits. In fact, he did not come past many people who were not in the above category. What made him stay away? As mentioned before, it was the adult world.

He rejected them and they rejected him. Only a few people like Phoebe even listened to him. He had told Sally to run away with him to the west, but she thought he was crazy. Both Carl Luce and Robert Ackley had told him to grow up. In the end Holden regards them as phonies.

Hence, staying away from them all. The only people that he approached or admired, were kids or people who were dead. Therefore, it was this idea of being a ‘catcher’ that made him what he thought was the fine line between the world of good and phoniess. At the same time, Holden’s want to be the ‘catcher’ also shows his immaturity. The fact that he believed he could change the world, the way people behaved, and that he could stop all the phoniess in the world.

He attempted to rub out a ‘f*** you’ sign outside of Phoebe’s school. He was successful. He completely removed all the traces of the two words and he was quite satisfied that did so. But it only late that he came to realisation that could not alter everything. He later found another “f*** you’ sign.

This time, scratched with a rock. He found himself hopeless. Holden tried as hard as he could to remove the sign but he started thinking. He thought that there would be a million signs just like that one in the world. There was no way he could rub out all of them At this point, he was helpless. The more the thought about it, the more he realised how impotent he was in the world.

He could not be the ‘catcher in the rye’. Could the reason for Holden’s wanting to be a catcher be because there was no one to catch him? When he went home, his parents were not there. That was a symbol that he lacked his parents’ love. To Holden, no one really cared for him. Even though Mr Spencer tried to encourage him to do better and Mr Antolini gave him warmth and shelter when he needed it, he believed that Spencer was a ‘phony’ and made up a half-witted excuse to ‘get the hell out’, while he thought Mr Antolini had some sort of sexual thing toward guys.

No one was really there for him when he needed them. Surely there were the girls and and his roommates, but he simply treated them as a joke, as if their existence had never really mattered. Probably the only one that came close was Phoebe. With her, Holden talked (to a degree) intimately and openly about his thoughts. Even though she was young and naive (yes, even though she is smart for her age), it gave comfort to Holden that someone was listening to him.

His lack of love brought him the want to be someone that others could love, a lending hand, some sort of security. He wanted to be there for others so that they do not fall into the phoney world. Because Holden saw the world as phoney and pretentious, he wanted to be a ‘catcher’ to stop a few of the innocent, such as Phoebe from going into the materialistic adult world. His wish to be a ‘catcher’ showed his insecurity, immaturity and his illusioned view towards everyone and everything. It resolves in the end when he came to realise that he was incapable of being the catcher.

He was useless in such a big world. The significance of the title revolved around Holden, and because the book did the same, it was one of the most important themes in The Catcher in the Rye.

Catcher In The Rye

The book Catcher in the Rye tells of Holden Caulfield’s insight about
life and the world around him. Holden shares many of his opinions about
people and leads the reader on a 5 day visit into his mind. Holden,
throughout the book, made other people feel inferior to his own. I can
relate to this because although I do not view people inferior to myself, I
do judge others unequally. Holden and I both have similar judgements of
people from the way they act and behave. We also share feelings about
motivation as well as lack of it. After reading this book, I came to the
conclusion that Holden and I are much more similar than I initially

Holden portrayed others to be inferior to his own kind all throughout
the book. He made several references as to how people aren’t as perfect as
he was. “The reason he Stradlater fixed himself up to look good was
because he was madly in love with himself.” (pg. 27) Holden had an
inferiority complex. He was afraid of not having any special talents or
abilities and used other methods to make him out to be a rough tough boy.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

“Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o’clock or so, getting drunk
as a bastard. I could hardly see straight.” (pg. 150) Holden tried all he
could to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make it
seem he was very knowing of these habits. I myself have found me doing this
at times, also. I, at times, feel the need to fit in to a group and do
things similar to what others do in order to gain acceptance by them. I
smoked a cigar once with two friends of mine because they kept going on and
on about how great cigars were, but that was only once. Holden and I both
place people on levels other than our own for amount of knowledge and
likeness to ourselves.

Holden used the term ‘phonies’ to describe more than a few people in
this book. He used the term to be what a person is if they don’t act
naturally and follow other people’s manners and grace. Holden didn’t like
phonies, he thought of them as if they were trying to show off. He didn’t
like it when they showed off because it seemed so fake and unnatural every
time they would do so.

“At the end of the first act we went out with all
the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that
was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life,
everybody smoking their ears off and talking about
the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they
were.” (pg. 126)
I know many people like this as well. I do not like phonies either. I
have many friends who talk using full vocabulary just to try to impress
you, and others who make note of everything they see to show you how
perceptible they are. People do this when they have a fear of their own
individuality and feel that they need to ace different to get people to
like them. Holden and I both dislike phonies. We do not like people who
take on roles of others to seem more likeable because they are insecure.

Throughout the book Holden displays a lack of motivation for many
things in which he should do. Holden couldn’t even call up an old
girlfriend whom he knew a long time ago.

“But when I got inside this phone booth, I
wasn’t much in the mood any more to give old
Jane a buzz.” (Pg. 150)
Holden also had a problem getting his motivation together in order to
complete schoolwork and succeed in his prep school. I have similar problems
with my motivation and find at times I must be in the mood to do something
in order for me to accomplish it. This stems from our experience in the
past being that we can get through life, or the part we’ve been through
already, with minimal effort. Holden has had this opportunity to notice
this as his parents have been shuffling him around to different schools
every time he flunks. He feels his parents will be there to move him
somewhere else and take care of him every time something goes wrong. I
found out in eighth grade that the schoolwork I had was far less than the
schoolwork I did and I began to slack off, this caused me to believe that I
could get away with minimal true effort in my schoolwork and it has also
followed me into other courses of my daily routine. I find my forgetting
to do things and having my parents doing them for me. I find I am
basically pampered to my every will and need at home. This is a bad habit
though and I am trying to get out of this lifestyle because I realize I
won’t always have someone to fall back on. Holden and I both have similar
motivational problems stemming from our childhood.

Holden Caulfield and I are very similar in many ways. We tend to judge
different people similar ways. We both dislike people who act phony
because of insecurity. We also both lack motivation because of previous
childhood experiences which have shaped our lives. Holden Caulfield and I
have began our great journey through life with similar ideas to each other.

Category: Book Reports

Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye The Catcher in The Rye Many people find that their dreams are unreachable. Holden Caulfield realizes this in J.D. Salingers The Catcher in the Rye. As Holden tells his story, he recounts the events since leaving the Pencey School to his psychiatrist. At first, Holden sounds like a typical, misguided teenager, rebellious towards his parents, angry with his teachers, and flunking out of school. However, as his story progresses, it becomes clear that Holden is indeed motivated, just not academically.

He has a purpose: to protect the young and innocent minds of young children from the horrors of adult society. He hopes to freeze the children in time, as wax figures are frozen in a museum. After interacting with Phoebe, his younger sister, Holden realizes that this goal is quite unachievable. Holden wants to be the Catcher in the Rye, then realizes it is an unreachable ideal. Holden begins his story misguided and without direction. After flunking out of the Pencey School, Holden decides to leave early.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Before he leaves, though, he visits his teacher, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer and Holden talk about his direction in life: Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy? Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all right. Sure. Sure, I do.

I thought about it for a minute. But not too much, I guess, (14). After leaving Pencey, he checks into a hotel where he invites a prostitute up to his room. He gets cold feet and decides not to have intercourse with her, though. Later, Holden decides to take his old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, to the theater.

After taking her to the theater, Holden formulates a crazy plan which entails running away with Sally, getting married, and growing old together. Sally thinks that he is crazy, and she decides to go home. During his stay away from home, Holden drinks and smokes, showing even more misdirection. However, when Holden returns home and talks to his sister, Phoebe, his direction becomes clear. Holden wants to be the Catcher in the Rye to protect children from the world in which he is forced to live.

While talking with Phoebe, she asks Holden what he would like to be. He responds saying: Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobodys around–nobody big, I mean–except me. And Im standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff–I mean if theyre running and they dont look where theyre going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.

Thats all Id do all day. Id just be the catcher in the rye and all. (173) Holden wants to protect the innocence of his sister and every other innocent child in the world. Before Holden meets Sally for their date, he stops in front of the Museum of Natural History and begins to reminisce. He thinks about the way he visited the museum when he was younger. He also tells that every time one visits the museum, he is changed in some way, but the figures in the exhibits always stay the same.

He wants to be able to preserve some things in the glass: Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone, (122). Holden wants the innocence of children to be frozen behind that glass. When he visits Phoebes school to give her a note, Holden notices two instances of graffiti on the walls. He succeeds in rubbing one of them off cannot rub off the other. It depresses Holden to think that someday this kind of graffiti will spoil his sister Phoebe and all of her companions. Up to this point, keeping young children from his plight is Holdens sole motive.

He soon realizes that this is impossible. Holden sees that becoming the Catcher in the Rye is an unattainable ideal. When he meets Phoebe during her lunch break at school, he has made up his mind to leave and hitchhike out west. Phoebe knows this and asks if she can come along. This overwhelms Holden, and he decides not to leave. Instead, he decides to take her to the zoo and to the carousel. Phoebe gets on the carousel and finds her favorite horse.

When the carousel starts Holden notices Phoebe trying to grab for the golden ring. He knows this is dangerous but must let Phoebe do it: All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid shed fall off the goddam horse, but I didnt say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but its bad if you say anything to them, (211). He understands that sometimes children must learn things the hard way.

As he sees Phoebe riding the carousel he begins to cry. He sees perfection in that moment, and he knows that she will soon change as the world influences her. Holden finally realizes that he will not be able to protect his sister or anyone from falling into the adult world. Holden transforms from a dreamy idealist into a down-to-earth existentialist. When he understands that his dream is far from possible, he has to start over.

Throughout his story he talks about people being phonies, which suggests that he has some ideal to which he compares people. He tells his psychiatrist that he does not know what will happen in the future: A lot of people, especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have here, keeps asking me if Im going to apply myself when I go back to school next September. Its such a stupid question, in my opinion. I mean how do you know what youre going to do till you do it? (213). Holden now knows that he must live life by the moment and not with quixotic ideals.

Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye Throughout the novel, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield’s actions conveyed his deteriorating mental health. Holden endured a troubled childhood and adolescence. Several years prior to the opening of the novel, Holden’s younger brother, Allie, died of leukemia. Since then, various boarding schools, most recently Pency Prep, expelled Holden because of his poor grades and lack of effort. Instead of confronting his parents with the news of his latest failure, Holden left school and spent several days in New York City.

During Holden’s stay in the city, he exhibited psychological traits not common to a sixteen-year-old, such as a preoccupation with death and major communication problems. Because of these traits, Holden Caulfield belonged in a mental institution. Throughout the novel, Holden demonstrated an intense preoccupation with death. For instance, Holden angered Maurice, Sunny’s boss, because Holden denied owing Sunny money that Maurice claimed Holden owed. Out of cruelty, Maurice punched Holden in the stomach. In reaction to the blow, Holden acted like a wounded movie hero. Pretending to die because of a simple punch reflected Holden’s abnormal thoughts.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

He grossly exaggerated the situation, indicating his mental instability. In addition, Holden displayed a great paranoia toward illness. While walking in Central park on a cold night, Holden’s wet hair began to freeze. Holden convinced himself that he would soon catch pneumonia and die, simply because of his wet hair. One does not usually associate wet hair with death, however Holden immediately made the mental leap between the two.

Finally, Holden did not accept the reality of his brother’s death, which was indicated during one of Holden’s visits to Allie’s grave. During the visit, it began to rain. All the other visitors ran for the protection of their cars, but Holden felt depressed because Allie could not escape the rain. When he saw the visitors leaving, Holden thought how they could go some place fore dinner, but Allie could only lie in his grave. Holden continued to believe that his brother felt emotions. He repeatedly gave Allie the characteristics of a living being, proving that he never fully accepted Allie’s death.

Obviously, Holden’s many unusual thoughts regarding death signified that Holden needed mental help. Holden’s communication problems also displayed his need to live in a mental institution. For example, on the train to New York City, Holden conversed with Mrs. Morrow. Holden spoke with the woman because he desperately sought attention and felt the need to communicate with someone. He chose to communicate with Mrs.

Morrow because she would not remain a permanent figure in Holden’s life. By lying to Mrs. Morrow, Holden remained detached and independent from reality. Holden could not face reality, hence his lying, and could not communicate with permanent people in his life. Afterwards, while walking in Central Park, Holden decided to move out west, and live closer to nature. He decided to pretend that he suffered from deafness and muteness to minimize his contact with people.

Holden did not want to communicate with people because he wished to detach himself from society. For him, this provided a way in which to escape reality. Similarly, Holden expressed a desire to move to Vermont in order to detach himself from society. He wished to sever most contacts with people and eliminate nearly all communications. Undoubtedly, Holden belonged in a mental institution because of his poor communication skills.

Holden Caulfield’s abnormal thoughts about death and illness, as well as his poor communication skills gave reason to place Holden in a mental institution. His experiences and thoughts in New York City definitively proved this idea. These included Holden’s encounters with people, such as Mrs. Morrow and Maurice, and his reactions to different situations, demonstrated by his immediate thought of death in connection to wet hair. Holden developed into a mentally instable person because of his troubled childhood and adolescence.

Catcher in the Rye

The Member Of The Wedding and The Catcher The Rye are both similar novels in the way adolescents want to belong to a group of people but there is one major difference. Frankie is looking to grow up so that she can fit in with the people around her while Holden wants to avoid adulthood completely as he sees the adult world as being false and corruptible.
In Member Of The Wedding Frankie feels like she doesnt fit in to a childs world. This is due to a number of reasons. She wishes now to belong to a more adult society.

Frankie feels alienated from the rest of her friends. When they play underneath the arbour Frankie doesnt fit because she is too tall. She resents this and sees her friends as ugly screaming kids. Frankie attempts to befriend the older girls but they say she smells and when they talk about sex Frankie doesnt understand referring to this as nasty lies. Here we see Frankie excluded from the adult world that she desires to belong to.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Frankie also feels excluded from her family. Her father wont allow her to sleep in the same bed as him anymore. He says that she is too big now. He is rarely at home and when he is he hardly speaks to Frankie. She attempts to converse with him but he just grunts at her. Eventually when he does talk to her he doesnt say much. After the wedding he shows a lack of understanding towards his daughter. She needs him but he tells her to wait until they are at home because then he will punish her for her behaviour. Berenice is the mother figure in her life but she returns to her own home and family in the evening. She feels excluded from Jarvis and Janice too because when they arrive home for a few days they invite Frankies father but not her. She feels this isnt very fair as she is also part of the family. This heightens Frankies isolation and also heightens her desire to belong to a group.

Frankie wants to belong to the navy and then decides to give blood to the Red Cross. She is refused on both accounts because she is too young. She thinks the freaks and criminals are trying to make eye contact with her so she can join their group but Frankie does not want that. These are images of isolation. She also tries to form a group with the soldier. We know she is not ready for adulthood as she is not mature enough when she says that he was talking double talk.
Frankie decides to join the wedding group with Jarvis and Janice. She even changes her name to F.Jasmine to make it similar to their names. She now starts to feel a connection with humanity. The feelings of alienation melt away but return after the wedding. She quickly realises that she is not a member of anything and feels crushed.

We see that the adult world excludes Frankie time and time again. The final straw is after the wedding. She realises that she was being foolish and develops a degree of insensitivity. She now has a new friend Mary. They have many interests in common such as poetry and art. She now forms her own club and learns to exclude people like Bernice and feels like she is beginning to belong. If this degree of insensitivity is developed further Frankie will have no problems joining adulthood
In the novel The Catcher In The Rye Holden Caulfield has the desire to belong to childhood. He sees the adults in this world as phony and therefore does not want to turn in to one. Holden has many options to deal with this problem.

One option would be for him to give in and step in to adulthood and live the life of a phony. He doesnt really see himself doing this however as it would be going against what he believed in. Another option for him would be to become an adult and devise some career to be a catcher in the rye. He could also reject the world completely and become a monk. He


I'm Lydia!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out