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Catcher In The Rye: Fear Of Change And Loneliness

1592 words - 7 pages

Everyone struggles with change and loneliness in one shape or form every day. While some of us only know how we handle these problems, it would help us more if we knew how others handled them. In Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield, a now ex-Pencey Prep student grapples with all of his many fears and problems. All while traveling around New York so not to go home and face his angry parents. Holden, who experienced the death of a close family member at a young age had problems with school; and was expelled from many. Now, as Holden is traveling through New York he is recalling past memories and struggling to find his way. Making some possible bad choices along the way, ...view middle of the document...

Holden is unsure of what would happen though as, “it was partly frozen and partly not” (154), or his parents opinions could go either way and so could a change. Holden is afraid of the change that his parents might ensue on him, so he does not want to take the step forward to confront his parents. Though the fear of change is most apparent through the death of Holden’s brother Allie, and how Holden still does not accept that Allie is gone. While the death of a close family member is hard to move on from, there are things that need to be let go of so that you can move on. Holden is refusing to face the fact that Allie is gone and Holden often, “[starts] talking, sort of out loud Allie” (98) so that he can still pretend Allie is with him. Holden is afraid to let go of him memories of Allie, for doing so would cause a change in Holden, a he does not want that to happen. Eventually Holden realizes that changing is not as bad as he thought it was. Holden, while witnessing Phoebe ride on the carrousel trying to reach for a golden right, realizes, “you have to let them do it” (211), or you have to let them change and grow. Holden sees this as how he needs to start changing and aim for a higher goal, conquering over his fear of change. Based on the events that take place and how Holden interacts with, it is apparent that J.D. Salinger wants to show that the fear of change can stop us from moving forward.
J.D. Salinger also shows us that loneliness can stop you from moving forward as well. One example of loneliness that Salinger brings forth is everything that has to deal with Pencey Prep and Holden. Holden states that he has so many friends, yet the only ones that are notable mentions are Ackley and Stradlater; whom Holden does not always get along quite well with. Stradlater who is the top of the top, Ackley who is at the bottom, and then there is Holden who is apparently in the middle of the popularity charts. Holden, who in the middle of this, still does not have friends that he can actually relate and talk to. Holden, who even while he was he was at Pencey Prep, did not even go to any of the games where everyone was; even though, “practically the whole school except [Holden] was there” (2). Pencey Prep was a place for Holden were, he did not have many friends, and he did not even try to make any, though if he does make friends, like Ackley and Stradlater; Holden eventually pushes them away creating his own loneliness. Loneliness is also evident through all these “phone calls” that Holden wishes to start and to or have. He often wishes to give Jane or his sister Phoebe a buzz, but is unable to seeing as how, “[he] wasn’t in the mood” (105). The fact that Holden wants to make these phone calls shows loneliness, but at the same time not making these phone calls makes it apparent that Holden does not wish for anyone else to know that he is calling because he is lonely. Holden is not in the mood to let others realize that the reason...

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