Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

1455 words - 6 pages

Catcher in the Rye is one of the most famous books in American literature. Written by J. D. Salinger, it captures the epitome of adolescence through Salinger’s infamous anti-hero, Holden Caulfield. Holden Caulfield learns about himself and his negative tendencies, and realizes that if he does not do something to change his perspective, he may end up like his acquaintance James Castle whom he met at Elkton Hills. Holden tries to find help to mend his outlook on life through Mr. Antolini so he does not end up like James, who did not want to face the problems he created for himself. This is proven by the similarities between James Castle and Holden, Mr. Antolini’s willingness to try and help Holden, and Holden’s future being forecasted by James.
Holden met James Castle at Elkton Hills school, and even though they only have one conversation together, there are striking similarities between the two characters. Both James and Holden are quite skinny and weak looking. In math class, the role call went “Cabel, R., Cabel, W., Castle, Caulfield,” (171). Holden’s name was right after James’. James is always one step ahead of Holden, implying to the reader that Holden could possibly be the next James Castle. James Castle passes away because he jumps out a window, after some boys had chased him into the bathroom because he “wouldn’t take back something he said about this very conceited guy, Phil Stabile” (170). James refused to take back his comment. Both Holden and James find flaws in people, and are very judgemental. This could lead to Holden’s demise, just like it did with James. If Holden is not careful, saying the wrong thing to someone could throw them off the edge, or Holden could drive himself mad with all those negative thoughts. When the boys had locked James in the bathroom, “Finally, what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window” (170). Like James, Holden is tempted to jump out of a window after his fight with Maurice and Sunny, but he did not follow through. Both Holden and James are struggling with finding a balance between being a kid and growing up. Kids are always very honest and speak their mind. However, James had not learned that he needs to filter some of the things he said, and ended up getting in trouble. And like the ducks in central park, he tried to fly away from the problem, but ended up falling to his death. James cannot be a kid forever, and he must deal with the consequences of his actions. Despite the similarities, there is a key difference between the two. James Castle jumped out the window in attempt to not have to deal with his problems anymore. In the book, the ducks in Central Park South represent childhood and the fish represent adulthood. James Castle is more like a duck, in meaning he can fly away from his problems just like a child.. Holden feels the same way at a point in the book, and he probably would have committed suicide if there had been “somebody to cover [him] up as soon as...

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