Holden Caulfield Character Examination Essay

855 words - 3 pages

Character Examination Holden Caulfield is a figment of author J.D Salinger's imagination, Holden is the exception to all rules, and the rule to all exceptions. He is in an unclassifiable category, and his physical traits give no clue on how to enravel this enigmatic young man. Holden is caring but cold, timid yet bold, passive but aggressive; these are three of perhaps hundreds of antonyms describing his psyche. Holden is the protagonist in J.D Salinger's only acclaimed novel The Catcher in the Rye. The story centers around the adolescence of this rebel with and without a cause's life. It is narrated from the point of view of a cynic, with most secondary characters being valueless, trite yuppies with little integrity or worth. Holden's internal voyage is triggered by his expulsion from Pencey, a boarding school in upstate New York.Holden Caulfield is a tall, solidly built teenager. Holden has short dirty blond hair which he wears in a crew cut. He has a pale complexion and has a tendency of getting red in the face. Salinger does not concentrate on the physical traits of his protagonist but rather he thoroughly describes all facets of his psyche. What struck me as odd about Salinger's style is that with many secondary and supporting characters in the novel, he paints a very detailed physical analysis from head to toe. Perhaps Salinger made this decision in order to show the reader the complexity of Holden as a human, and that while supporting characters can be brought into the story by external traits, Holden's complex character transcends mere physical description. Holden Caulfield is a cynic by nature and is a self proclaimed judge of others. Holden has no respect for other people's positive traits, and he adamantly believes that people put on a façade, play a part and have no self worth or moral barometer.It can be said that Holden is a bipolar character, for example; Holden is naïve yet cynical simultaneously. One might say that it is impossible to be naïve and cynical at the same time but with Holden it is evident on a regular basis. Holden is definitely cynical, Holden makes impetuous accusations and rash generalizations of people and often he is mistaken in his judgment because he shows no form of acceptance to the positive value of the human spirit. Holden is also naïve, not in the pure sense of the word but Holden is naïve of himself and his thoughts....

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