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J.D. Salinger Is Holden Caulfield Essay

1698 words - 7 pages

Jerome David Salinger is an odd character with a colorful background. He was a young man unable to complete college and obtain a degree, yet he was made very popular due to his writing abilities. “Despite his slim body of work and reclusive lifestyle, ‘Salinger’ was one of the more influential twentieth century American writers.” states Biography.com, “His landmark novel, Catcher in the Rye, set a new course for literature in post World War II America.”
The Catcher in the Rye told a story of Holden Caulfield and his struggle to find something pure in a world filled with “phonies” (Biography). It is arguable that some of Holden’s experiences could be comparitively autobiographical to Salinger’s real life. Much like J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a reserved character, attending Pencey Prep (Salinger, J.D.). Both Holden and Salinger were born and raised in Manhattan, and went to private schools in Pennsylvania. Another seemingly important characteristic between the two is that they were kicked out of numerous schools because of grades.
J.D. Salinger was born on January 1, 1919 in New York City, New York, as the youngest of two children ( Biography). He was the son of Solomon, who ran a successful ham and Kosher cheese import, and his wife Miriam Salinger (Liukkonen). The family lived in Manhattan, New York on Park Avenue which was what Liukkonen calls, “The fashionable apartment district” much like his character, Holden Caulfield. Salinger was born into a mixed family, where his father was of Jewish, and his mother was Scotch-Irish (Notable Biographies). His parents marriage was frowned upon because his mother was non-Jewish, so his mother learned to hide her religion from everyone including Salinger. For most of Salinger’s childhood he believed both his parents to be Jewish, but following his bar mitzvah he found out his mother was Catholic. Salinger was far from thrilled to find out he was lied to for most of his life (Biography). The Catcher in the Rye tells how Holden has mixed feelings about Catholics. He states that they are always trying to figure out if he is Catholic, and he believes they would like him more if he were (Salinger, J.D., 146). While traveling New York, Holden runs into some Catholic nuns, and “accidentally” blows cigarette smoke in there face when he donates money to their church (Salinger, J.D., 144). This is a sure sign that gives mixed signals saying he likes nuns, but is still unsure what he thinks of Catholics.
Surprisingly, Salinger was not fond of any school or formal education, and only maintained mediocre grades (Notable Biographies). He exemplified this attitude through his writing, there were signs of impatience with formal education system throughout his stories (Notable Biographies). He attended public schools near his home in Manhattan, and later attended prep schools in New York’s Upper West Side. He attended a school by the name of, McBurney School, where Salinger...

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