Three Myths About Holden Caulfield in JD Salinger’s Catcher within the Rye


With the dying of my favourite “coming of age” creator a couple of years in the past, I began fascinated by my tackle Holden Caulfield. Positive fifty years have skipped by since my first studying, however I puzzled how I felt about Holden now that I’m well past my teen years. Was he one of many good guys or unhealthy guys? Was he nonetheless a hero in my thoughts? Within the means of this to re-evaluate of Holden and his world three myths surrounding this well-known literary character emerged in my thoughts’s eye. That’s, these are myths as a result of I assumed they have been true as a teen, however not now. And for the sake of seeing this in print, I’ll bleep out a number of phrases alongside the way in which.

1. Though the ebook has been banned by some faculties, there’s nothing in “Catcher in the Rye” on the very first web page that will upset the everyday reader-after all, it is a traditional. Nicely, the primary phrase bomb seems proper to start with on web page 5, “crap,” after which “hemorrhages”, “bleep,” “bleep,” and “bleep.” Again in 1951, many readers thought these phrases have been slightly vulgar, particularly my mother and father and Aunt Dolores. Now, in the event you ever had the pleasure of assembly Aunt Dolores, she would have knocked your socks off. Apart from being attractive, she was my godmother. She hated the ebook from the primary web page on. That mystified me at age sixteen as a result of I cherished it. I assumed it was so sincere! So genuine! I puzzled to myself: “You mean there were other YA books out there that might be like this one?” And that novel impressed me to change into a “reader” of many YA books.

2. Holden Caulfield performed primarily by the foundations, however the world was out to get him.Aunt Dolores thought that you need to play by the foundations, or at the least her guidelines. She wouldn’t have gotten alongside swimmingly with Holden. Did Holden assume life was like a sport and finest to comply with the foundations? He mentioned (on web page eight): “Game my bleep. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game all right-I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side… Nothing. No game.”

Not too lengthy into Holden’s world the reader discovers that he isn’t a dependable narrator. He is nice on the main points of what he sees, however he is poor at placing what he sees in a well-rounded perspective, similar to many teenagers striving to seek out their place on the planet. Grown-ups do not make a lot sense to them. To teenagers, we appear to be aliens from outer house that they must tolerate. Holden tends to see first the negatives in folks akin to Ackley’s pimples, Stradlate’s untidy toiletries, Mr. Antolini’s ingesting drawback, and Mr. Spencer’s outdated bathrobe and bumpy chest. He fixates on this stuff as an alternative of exploring and having fun with the skills of others. In different phrases, he misses out on many easy pleasures.

three. Holden is such a beloved character in American literature as a result of he marches to a unique drummer. Holden has a thoughts of his personal, however he actually is not keen to develop as common individual or study from his errors. When he says goodbye to his former historical past trainer, Mr. Spencer, he describes him this fashion on web page 9, “I’m not too crazy about sick people, anyway. What made it even more depressing, old Spencer had on this very sad, ratty old bathrobe that he was probably born in.” Holden is fast to belittle these adults who hope that he’ll change into extra accountable. He would slightly keep away from any speedy emotional ache, and act as if the longer term would not matter. Mr. Spencer tells Holden that he needs to assist him, however Holden thinks (on web page 15): “we were just on opposite sides of the pole, that’s all.” That is understating it.

By assembly with Mr. Spencer, Holden seems to be getting closure on his disturbing days at Pencey Prep, however Holden is simply going by means of the motions of life. He would not need to share any actual emotions or take into consideration what’s subsequent for him, though Mr. Spencer strongly urges him to take action, even to the purpose of being slightly blunt with him on web page 14: “Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy?” Holden says, “… not too much, I guess.” Holden makes use of “denial” as a defensive weapon to repel self-knowledge and alter.

Holden needs to flee any self-introspection that he can, and reside in a extra harmless world the place he can rescue children from falling into maturity, the place the “phonies” are, and the place they might not even know they’re phonies.

Nonetheless, it was Holden’s story that impressed me at sixteen to learn extra and be extra conscious of phonies, particularly after I was being one.

Thanks, Holden Caulfield.