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The Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

2700 words - 11 pages

Holden’s loneliness and lack of love continues throughout the novel. Holden has been wearing a red hunting cap every day, asking the cab driver what happens to the ducks in the central park lagoon during the winter and even attempting to pick up girls. As part of picking up girls, Holden meets a young lady named Sally Hayes. As he wanders around town, a boy coming out of church is singing “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” and Holden stops and wonders what that could possibly mean. Later in that day the date did not go so well and Holden decides to run away again, but he couldn’t possibly leave without saying goodbye to his sister Phoebe. She then convinced him to go back to the Museum of Art the following day. When the time came Holden took his sister to the zoo and watched her ride the carousel that kept going around and around as Phoebe was wearing Holden’s red hunting hat. It made Holden happy to see his little sister going around and around, even in the rain. The story ends when Holden looks back at his life so far wondering why he knew so many people and how he came to the point where he cannot control himself anymore. One moment someone can be perfectly fine and giddy, but the next thing you know something doesn’t make sense and we all begin to wonder. The themes Holden portrays, of love, loss, and confusion towards life, are the reason this novel has become so popularized in American culture. The ability to react to all of Holden’s emotions and relate to them is why teenagers can name The Cather in the Rye as a favorite novel.
Holden is a hero because he saves adolescents from doing stupid things. In a way, he gives them life lessons by expressing his personal experiences within such topics. He gives the teenage population lessons on how to deal with their own problems. For Holden, his whole life is about living in the past because he does not know how to look forward and go down a different road in life. These adolescents look up to Holden as if he were real. There is a difference between becoming a man and being a man: adolescents have the opportunity to make something of themselves while adults have already been down that road to success. Holden provides an outlet for questions and concerns on an adolescent’s way to adulthood. At the very end of the book, one of the last things Holden says before concluding his journey is “I didn't know what the hell to say. If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”(Salinger pg 214). Sometimes the only thing that brings comfort to adolescents is the thing that they kept in the past. Holding on to that past makes it seem like they have memories, but for Holden, he finally acknowledges the truth...

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