The Catcher In The Rye

The Catcher in the rye In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden attempts, whether he is conscious of it or not, to save certain characters from “falling” into what he sees as the corrupt world of adulthood. He does this in his thoughts as well as in his real actions. An example of this is seen when Holden tries to rescue all children from “falling”. The most important child he attempts to save is his sister Phoebe.

Last and most crucial, Holden tries to save himself. Holden has a natural instinct to protect people he sees as vulnerable. His main focus is to guard children whom he sees as being pure and innocent and whom he would like to shelter from corruption. His “Catcher in the Rye” image, as far fetched as it seems, is the first concrete expression of Holden’s urge to protect the weak. “..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.

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Thats all Id do all day. Id just be the Catcher in the Rye..” (Salinger p. 173) Holdens dream is to be “The Catcher in the Rye” an adult whose job is to rescue children whenever they begin to fall off a cliff at the end of a rye field. Holdens desire to be “The Catcher in the Rye” symbolizes his urge to “catch” children before they “fall” into adulthood. The field of rye is an open space representing freedom and childhood.

The cliff that Holden speaks of implies the boarder from childhood to adulthood. Holden wants to be the catcher or guardian of these children and make sure that they do not cross over to the corrupt world of adulthood. Holden loves children because they are the only people who are not phony. They are innocent and not yet affected by mankind. Like his love for children, Holdens love and respect for Phoebe, his younger sister, is unsurpassed.

Phoebe exemplifies Holdens view of a perfect childhood, but problem arises when Holden realizes that Phoebe is already showing signs of growing up. Holden attempts to shield Phoebe from the cruelty of the inevitable realities of life. A way in which Holden tries to prevent this from happening is when he gives Phoebe his red hunting hat. This hat expresses protection and security and a way to hide from society. Since Holden has already been removed from the innocence of childhood, he thinks he knows how demoralized society really is.

For example, Holden saw something that drove him crazy. “..Somebodyd written “Fuck you” on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other kids would see it, and how theyd wonder what the hell it meant, and finally some dirty kid would tell them-all cockeyed, naturally- what it meant, and how theyd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever had written it..” (Salinger p.

201) Holden is so upset and afraid that Phoebe will see this and be told what it means, exposing her to what Holden refers to as a “corrupt society”. Safeguarding Phoebe from unavoidably crossing the threshold from childhood to adulthood is described once again in the scene at the zoo when Phoebe is riding the carrousel and reaching for the gold ring. Holden saw Phoebe as a little kid again which is all he really wanted. “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.” (Salinger p.

211) The gold ring on the carousel is symbolic. When Phoebe and the other kids were reaching for the ring on the carousel, they almost fell off heir horses. The gold ring signifies adulthood. Holden should have warned Phoebe about falling, but he knew he couldnt. The fact that she would fall represents the transformation from a child to an adult.

Holden realizes that you cannot stop it from happening. No matter how much you warn them, kids will grow up. Holdens outlook on life and society is generally pessimistic. He thinks that once you reach the adult world, it is horrible and full of phonies. He thinks that children should remain children forever so they dont have to be subjected to a world full of phonies. He wishes he too could stay a child forever.

Holden suffers from the “Peter Pan syndrome,” and wants to live in “Never Never Land” forever. He says that when he grows up, he is going to be a deaf-mute so no one could talk to him. He would marry a deaf-mute woman and they would raise their children in a place far away from society. He and his family would not have to deal with what Holden is trying to escape now, as he is entering adulthood. Holdens hopeless views of society originate from his belief that there is nowhere tranquil in the world.

“Thats the whole trouble. You cant ever find a place thats nice and peaceful, because there isnt any.. I think, even if I ever die, and hey stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, itll say “Holden Caulfield” on it, and then the year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that itll say “Fuck you” Im positive, in fact.” (Salinger p. 204) Holden tries to avoid adulthood in many ways. He wears his red hunting and and tries to protect himself from the outside world, and in doing so rejects anything and anyone that might bring change to his state of being.

Holdens hatred of change is personified in the remembrance of the museum of Natural History. “.. The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobodyd move.. Nobodyd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you..” (Salinger p.

121) “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. I know its impossible, but its too bad anyway.” (Salinger p. 122) As previously stated Holdens adversion to change is also indicative of his name. Holden Caulfield holds different meanings. Holden means that he is “holding” on to the past and childhood. His last name is Caulfield.

A Caul is a membrane around an embryo still attached. Holden can not break free and is still attached to his childhood. Field represents childhood and freedom where the children are running around having fun. Holdens attempts to shield himself and his sister, Phoebe, from the world are inescapable. Growing up and lifes cruel realities are not a choice, but instead problems to be dealt with on a day to day basis, but also something Holden wanted to avoid. He later realizes that he cant stop the process of growing up and cannot save every child from “falling”.

The Catcher in the Rye

The catcher and the rye is about the struggle of a boy to find a point to his life. The author of this masterpiece, J.D. Salinger, gives a flawless performance of the thoughts and feelings of a skeptical teenage boy. Holden Claufield despises the world of phonies he has come to understand. He doesn’t have many friends, and he is failing in all his classes. He has many problems along those lines, and some how, all of his problems can be related to his younger brother’s death. Holden will come to find that life is what you make of it and some times having a family that cares for you, is incredibly important.

Holden is quite the negative type, for whatever reasons. He takes interest in nothing because he can easily find a logical reason why not to. He doesn’t even portray in social collaboration amongst schoolmates, aside from Stradlater and Ackley of course. He obviously does not join sports, plays, and other related activities, most likely because they are all too social. Holdens relationship with Stradlater, a GQ roommate, was more of a pastime activity, rather then a real friendship. Though Holden is a rather negative guy his thought structure is pure, and he is in general a good person with a free mind.

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Holdens disappointments all share a common center of rotation. “people” is the key problem. He doesn’t like how they work, how they pretend to be something they are not. Like an indirect lie that is shouted with out a word being said. It is people that make the worlds a huge and utter disappointment to Holden. He even has a name for such people, he calls them “phonies”. The reason for the name is quite self-explanatory. The other type of people that disappoint Holden, are those who are with out respect for anything. The type that only care about what is important to themselves. Ones who would write an obscenity where children play, for self-amusement. Holden doesn’t like these types all, but he keeps his thoughts to himself and remains at peace.

Though Holdens negativity and disappointment level is great, he is unknowingly in search of happiness. Holdens initial life plan was to settle him self away from society, and if by chance there we people in this sanctuary, he would pretend to be deaf. One true thing that made Holden happy was sharing a moment with his sister, Peobe. He was happy by the fact that she was so smart and unique, he bragged about her several times through out the book. Even thought he may have been bias on a great deal of what he said about her, it was obvious he loved her. It was because of Peobe that Holden started thinking about his life, and where it was going. After his talk with Peobe he decided that his new goal would be one where he could help people, like a catcher in the rye.

This book allows the reader to enter in to another person’s mind, and experience things differently. The contents of this book is limited only by the boundaries of Holden mind. Though crude at times, in the end the reader can walk away with a feeling of “wow”. Easily a classic of English language novels, it ranked 64 out of the top100 drawn up by the editorial board of the modern library in 1998. It was written over 50 years ago, but it is still going strong. This will be a hard book for America to forget especially seeing that it is mercilessly forced in to the school systems of this Great Nation.

The catcher in the rye

Everyone knows and wants the all too true American dream, to be or wants to be something that is better than what you are or have already. In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is an idealist who always envisions his life as it should be, and not as it truly is. It is the story of an emotionally disturbed sixteen-year-old boy; told through a flashback. In an attempt to deal with his problems and try to find himself, he leaves the school, which he was kicked out of to vacation alone in New York City. Holdens view of adults is not likely of a boy his age. While most teenagers Holdens age see adults as role models, Holden perceives adults as phonies which always depress him. Although Holden is shown as immature and inconsiderate; he is also a nurturer. He takes very good care of his sister Phoebe, and puts a lot of trust in her. He sees all children as beautiful and helpless. As an idealist, he thinks he can go forever. Through out the novel the reader sees Holden as an idealist, always wanting what he can never have, and striving to always obtain what he wants out of his life.
Holdens views of adults are very unlikely for a boy his age. Holden looks up to
no one, and sees all adults as phonies and hopes to never become like that. . He
feels sorry for all of the phony and depressing people in the world, especially his parents. The two people Holden should look up to the most in the world he clearly despises. His father is a lawyer and therefore he considers him phony because he views his fathers occupation as demoralizing. Holden says, Lawyers are all right, I guess, but it doesnt appeal to me. All they do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like hotshots. How would you know you werent being phony? The trouble is you wouldnt. (172). Therefore doesnt like to talk to them, and thinks that they do not and will never understand him. Although he does not care for his parents, he still pities them. Holden feels sorry for almost every adult that he comes in contact with. From the minute that Holden walks into Mr. Spencers room he is already sorry that he came. There were pills and medicine all over the place, and everything smelled like Vicks Nose drops. It was pretty depressing.(.7). Just the sight of Mr. Spencer made Holden ill and depressed. He tells Mr. Spencer that he had talked to Dr. Thurmer and he said, Life is a game, and one should play according to the rules. (8) This quote is ironic to Holden since he never believes that life is a game. He believes the exact opposite, that life is very serious and he doesnt accept the rules set before him by phony adults. He continues to tell Mr.Spencer that his parents will be very irritated by the news that he had been kicked out yet again. Considering he had already been kicked out of about four different schools. Holden then states that he tends to act very
young for his age, being sixteen then and saying he tends to act thirteen, even though he has gray hair.

Holden even sees kids his own age as fake and depressing adolescence like himself. He cannot stand his roommate Stradtler and despises his sometimes companion at Pencey, Ackley. Holden hates and at the same time wishes to become Stradtler. Stradtler is everything Holden says he hates and never wants to be, but in reality it is a cover-up. Meanwhile, Ackley, whom he should feel sympathy for, is an annoying pest that Holden cannot wait to get out of his room. His cruelty and frustration towards people his age leads him to feel even greater hatred to adults around him.

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In an Editorial Review from a writer stated Holdens constantly wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience


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