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Judging Others In J.D. Salinger´S The Catcher In The Rye

987 words - 4 pages

Judging others is a natural characteristic for humans, but many take it too far. From sharing their opinion when unnecessary to making rude comments towards another with no lack of remorse, people fail to realize the effects that judging others can have on their behavior and emotions. Holden Caulfield, from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, underscores this concept. Throughout Salinger’s novel, the reader obtains the conclusion that Holden is extremely judgmental of those around him. Holden’s critique of others is a defense mechanism based on fear because he feels judged by the adult world that surrounds him; he in turn pushes his feelings upon other people to justify his own ...view middle of the document...

His teachers, present and past, warn him that he needs to start applying himself in order to excel in life. Mr. Antolini, Holden's old English teacher, tells him, "this fall I think you're riding for it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind: the man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself at the bottom" (Salinger 187). Mr. Antolini is saying if he doesn't begin to put himself in school, then he is not going to like the outcome of his decisions. Holden is silenced and doesn't know how to respond because he knows Mr. Antolini is being authentic in a world full of phonies. He is taken back and becomes exhausted and falls asleep on his couch; he then wakes up to Mr. Antolini touching his head. Because Holden is concerned and assumes that Mr. Antolini is trying to make a pass at him, he flees to Grand Central Station. Holden's fear of acknowledging a connection with any one person shatters his ability to draw unjudgmental desicions towards others.
Along with being afraid to feel connection with someone, Holden also built a phony exterior through lies to deflect part of the judgment that he feels from others. For example, Ackely angers Holden to the point where he storms out and leave to get on a train. While on the train, an attractive woman gets on and he starts up a conversation with her. He says, "I have this tiny tumor on the brain" (Salinger 58). Holden lies to the lady about having a brain tumor and having to go home to have a small operation. This isn't the first time Holden has lied; throughout the novel he constantly lies about his age, job, lifestyle, and personal information to people he meets while in New York City. He does this to hide from the judgment he feels from others; judgment affects his life because he feels as though he has to...

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