The Catcher In The Rye: Stuck In Adolescence

886 words - 4 pages

The novel The Catcher in the Rye follows Holden Caulfield for a weekend. The story begins in Agerstown, PA at Pencey Prep school with Holden standing on top of the Thomson Hill on his way to Mr. Spencer’s, his history teacher, to say good bye because Holden was expelled for not following rules. On his way to Spencer’s, Holden “felt like [he] was sort of disappearing”. (Salinger 5) The sense of symbolism with the word “disappearing” is that he feels alone and almost invisible. When Mr. Spencer starts to read Holden’s failed paper, Holden starts to daydream about “wondering where ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over” (13) in Central Park in New York. The symbolic significance in this comment is that Holden is frozen in adolescence.
Holden returns to school and goes to his bedroom in the dorm. In his room quietly reading, his neighbor Robert Ackley came in. Holden describes him as a pimply, insecure, annoying boy with a bad dental hygiene. When Holden’s roommate Stradlater who was “madly in love with himself” (27) arrived home after the football game, Ackley abruptly left. Stradlater tells him that he has a date with a friend of his, Jane Gallagher. Jane is someone that Holden really cares for and because he knows the way Stradlater is, Holden became worried for her. “It just drove me stark raving mad when I thought about her and Stradlater parked somewhere in that fat-assed Ed Banky’s car”. (48) Holden became depressed and lonely, so out of the blue Holden decides to pack his things and leave for New York a few days earlier. On the train to New York, Holden meets the mother of one of his schoolmates. Not wanting to tell his whole life story, he told her his name was “Rudolf Schmidt”, the name of the janitor. (54) She was aware that Christmas holidays didn’t start till Wednesday, she said, “I hope you weren’t called home suddenly because of illness in the family”. (58) He proceeds to tell her that he has “small brain tumor”. (58)
Upon arriving in New York he finds a room at the Edmont Hotel. The elevator operator Maurice asks Holden if he would like the company of Sunny who was the local prostitute. When Sunny arrives, Holden admits that he is a virgin and he just wanted to talk. They end up arguing over five dollars, so when Sunny left and came back with Maurice in the intent to extort the extra five dollars they wanted, Maurice gave Holden ...

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