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Holden Caufield Criticism Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Joe OlwigEnglish IIICriticism Paper"Longing for emotional support, Holden perversely trusts almost no one. He views his world, not incorrectly, as being full of "phonies"; often, he fantasizes about a solitary life as a self-sufficient deaf-mute." Holden Caulfield is quite the extraordinary character. Though Holden narrates in a cynical and jaded voice, he is actually very intelligent and carries sensitivity unlike most teenage boys. He finds the hypocrisy and spitefulness of the world around him almost intolerable, and through his sarcasm he tries to protect himself from the pain and frustration of the adult world. His trust for people minimizes as his life goes on until he finally feels obligated to keep nearly everything personal to himself.Holden's past life experiences may just be the reason for Holden's distrust in so many people. In Holden I see a troubled and unreliable character that seems to believe that whatever he thinks is true, in fact is always the truth. Holden has failed out of four schools; he manifests complete lack of concern toward his future; he is hospitalized where he is visited by a psychoanalyst; and he is unable to connect anyone at all. I do believe, though, that the main reason for his emotional state of mind being vulnerable is due to the death of his brother and the suicide of a classmate committed in school. Holden has been deeply affected by these tragedies and has yet to recover emotionally from them. Holden is hurt and confused because of these happenings and therefore finds it hard to confide in anyone he knows. He feels betrayed because of these losses in his life, and as a result feels that most people in the world are fake or as Caulfield puts it "phonies".Holden expresses himself to people in many peculiar ways, causing it to be rather complicated when trying to figure him out. The most noticeable of Holden's peculiarities is how extremely judgmental he is of almost everything and everybody. He criticizes and talks about people who are insecure, people who are boring, and, more than anything about people who are "phony." Holden almost always automatically thinks that the people he meets are phony. Never does Holden trust anyone who he hardly knows. Holden feels that to trust someone, the two people have to have a degree of respect unlike that of nearly anyone. This is why Holden cannot seem to trust anyone. He doesn't know very many people well enough to listen to what they say and believe every word of it. And not only that, Holden, for the most part, keeps all of his major feelings all bottled up inside him because of his lack of reliance of others. While Holden sees all this dishonesty in other people, he too seems to have a superficial aspect to his character. Because he is uncomfortable with his own weaknesses, he seems to at times display better than anyone, the true phoniness of people in this world.Holden really needs people in his life who he can confide in. In the criticism line, it says, "Longing...

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