Holden's Seperateness In Catcher In The Rye

1434 words - 6 pages

Holden's Seperateness in Catcher in the Rye

In ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ Salinger sets about making Holden appear
separate from everyone else. He does this through a variety of
methods. One of the ways in which Salinger shows this separateness is
through Holden’s relationships and encounters with his family and

Another method that Salinger uses is that usually whenever Holden
attempts to contact someone they are either not there or don’t answer
the phone, this give us the feeling that Holden is by himself, alone,
separate from everyone else. Also the fact that Holden says ‘my
address book only has about three people in it’ gives us again the
impression that Holden is disconnected from society.

Holden’s apparent desire to be separated from the majority of his
family and friends appears to have been triggered by the death of his
younger brother Allie. From Allie’s there has been a downward spiral
in Holden’s relationships, as he begins to avoid contact with others
and isolate himself more. The reason I believe this is because we can
see how immense his anger is after Allie’s death, ‘I slept in the
garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my
fist’. The death of Allie has become like an awakening to Holden, and
has alerted him how precious childhood innocence is, when Holden comes
to this realisation he convinces himself to do everything within his
power to protect the innocence of himself and those around him, to
protect them from what he sees as a false adult world. Although Holden
clearly fails to protect himself, as he falls into all sorts of
situations which hardly boasts of innocence and virtue, such as his
encounter with the prostitute, his frequent usage of profanity and the
fact that he smokes and drinks rather heavily at times ‘I was getting
drunk as hell’. However this does not stop Holden from having a very
strong desire to protect the innocence of those around him, such as
when he visited Phoebe’s school and tried to rub out all the
profanity, and after the prostitute incident, ‘I felt like jumping out
of the window. I probably would’ve done it; too, if I’d been sure
somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of
stupid rubbernecks looking at me while I was all gory’. This can be
interpreted as Holden still trying to protect the innocence of those
around him, as even in his death he still wants to preserve the
innocence of those around him, as even in death he still wishes to
protect the innocence of those who would see his gory body.

Holden also believes that it is his duty to protect the innocent from
what he sees as a false adult world. We see that as the Novel draws on
he gradually becomes more and more intent on doing this, this becomes
evident in Chapter 22, when Holden is speaking to Phoebe, ‘You know

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