Jolden Laulfield Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon of the Beatles was shot and killed outside of his apartment complex in New York City. The man who shot Lennon, Mark David Chapman, was found just a few feet away from Lennon’s body, reading The Catcher in the Rye. Unbecomingly, Chapman used the book as his excuse for murdering Lennon. In court, Chapman used the novel as his statement and even signed his copy of the novel as “Holden Caulfield,” the novel’s protagonist, believing himself to actually be Caulfield. Because of this, John Lennon and the book will be eternally connected. However, Lennon’s death is not the only parallel to be drawn between Holden Caulfield and Lennon; the similarities between Holden ...view middle of the document...

Sitting in bed thinking about his being “sort of an atheist,” Holden begins to explain his feelings towards the Bible and Jesus. He says,
I like Jesus and all, but I don’t care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples… They annoy the hell out of me… They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting him down (Salinger 99).

John Lennon is quoted to have said basically the same thing, expressing no ill feelings toward Jesus, just to the Disciples, “Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me” (Lennon). Whether John Lennon read the novel is unknown, but assuming he hadn’t, the two views are irrefutably similar.
Holden’s largest problem is perhaps his dealing with the passing of his younger brother, Allie. Holden mentions him in almost every chapter of the book and only says good things about him. Allie’s death was tragic and clearly traumatizing for Holden, he mentions that he and his mother were affected in the same way by the loss and says “…She [his mother] still isn’t over my brother Allie yet” (Salinger 155). Like Holden, John Lennon also experienced a tremendous loss at a very young age, his mother, Julia. When he was 17, the same age as Holden, his mother was struck by a police car and killed. John was severely hurt by the passing of his mother. He was not overtly upset, rather, he kept his grieving to himself for quite some time. It took John about twenty years to finally express some sort of feeling about his mother’s death; in 1968 he wrote the song “Julia,” a very slow, melancholy song that is filled with longing for his mother.
With rejection being a very prevalent theme in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden seems to meet with rejection at every turn. Throughout the novel, Holden is just really lonely and is searching for someone, anyone, to listen to him and be his companion. Unfortunately this is a very hard task for Holden to accomplish. Every effort he makes to establish some kind of relationship with someone ends up a fruitless pursuit that ends in rejection. His...

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