"Catcher In The Rye" By J.D. Salinger.

1294 words - 5 pages

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden views the world as an evil and corrupt place where peace cannot be found. As an adolescent, he tries to prevent himself from turning into what he despises the most, a phony. Holden's perception of the surrounding world does not change significantly throughout the novel. However as the story progresses, Holden gradually comes to the realization that he cannot change the world and has to deal with the complicated matter of growing up.During the short period of Holden's life covered in this book, Holden succeeds in making us perceive the world how he sees it: crazy. Shortly after Holden leaves Pencey Prep he checks in to the Edmont Hotel. Here, Holden's turmoil begins. He spends the following evening in this hotel filled with "perverts and morons. (There were) screwballs all over the place" (Salinger 61). His situation only deteriorates from this point on; the more he looks around this world, the more depressing life seems. Around every corner, Holden sees evil. He looks out on a world which appears completely immoral and unscrupulous. The novel places a distressed Holden in the vicinity of Manhattan. The city, decked with decorations and holiday splendor, should have been joyous and blissful. Yet, much to Holden's despair it "seldom yields any occasions of peace, charity or even genuine merriment" (Gwynn 14). Holden finds himself surrounded by what he views as 'drunks', 'perverts', 'morons' and 'screwballs'. He goes through a psychological battle between his past ideals of the world as a child and the immorality which he sees around him. This disappointment and frustration with the surrounding world eats at him and makes him become more cynical day by day. His condition of being ignored eventually arises the thought of whether society chooses to ignore the emptiness that can be shown in humans. "..but people never notice. People never notice anything," (Salinger 9). These convictions that Holden holds waver momentarily during only one particular scene in the book, the scene with his former teacher, Mr. Antolini. After Mr. Antolini pats Holden on the head while he dozes off, Holden jumps up and runs out thinking that Mr. Antolini turned out to be a pervert as well. At only this time in the novel does Holden think twice about considering someone as a pervert. After reviewing Mr. Antolini, Holden finally concludes that maybe he was not making a "flitty" pass at him. Maybe he just liked patting guys' heads as they sleep. (Salinger 189) This is one of the few instances in the novel when Holden actually thinks positively and uses an optimistic judgment. Instead of immediately condemning Mr. Antolini to being a phony, he analyses the situation and tries to avoid coming to rushed conclusions about what happened. However, this event does not constitute a significant change. As Holden himself says, "It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out" (Salinger 156). The sun, of...

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