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The Complex Holden Caulfield Essay

1064 words - 4 pages

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye interprets the adolescent world full of trials and tribulations. A boy named Holden Caulfield is faced with many societal and psychological obstacles, as he struggles to find a rational console in society. The urbanity which Holden describes is realistic, yet twisted in his perplexed stupor.Holden faces the dilemma of questioning where he belongs, if he is abnormal, and who he truly is. In most respects, Holden is a typical teenager. He tries to find himself while struggling to survive the friction of maturing. Like many teens, Holden struggles to gain acceptance and make friends. One of the first traits that Holden reveals about himself is his ability to lie. "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible" (16). Jollyroger.com stated, that Holden's inability to have a normal conversation or relationships shuns him from his peers. Holden's insecurity causes his compulsive lying. This, in turn, is why he can't find a place in society. The world doesn't know Holden just as Holden does not know himself. Holden can no longer decipher between reality and his elaborate exaggerations.The rejection that Holden faces from society directly correlates with his behavior. To compensate for having no friends his own age, Holden looks to older and younger people. Even though immature, Holden tries to act like an adult by smoking and drinking in hopes that he will find companionship or at least spark conversation. When this approach fails, he goes to the polar opposite. "(Phoebe) was always someone you felt like talking to on the phone" (66). Holden has high regards for his little sister in a world of 'phonies', where her innocence, naivety, and imprudence are comforting, yet an idealistic image. Holden is immature; this causes him to find comfort in talking to a younger person. Phoebe is also, the only person that will listen to him, let alone not reject his presence. This, in itself, is enough reason for Holden to have such a strong bond with his younger sibling. Even she, however, worries about Holden's meaningless existence. Thus proving, Holden's little sister may have more intuition than he, who never hesitates to critique with the insight of a philosopher.During Holden's journey, while searching for life's answers, he becomes infatuated by a question of the duck's fate in Central Park's freezing lake. He actually cares about the ducks of Central Park and what their destiny holds. "Well, you know the ducks that swim around in it? Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime, by any chance?" (81). Holden forms a mental union with the ducks while contemplating them. Not so ironically, the duck symbolizes Holden. He can follow them with uncertainty, while he continually doubts himself. They, like Holden, disappear without anyone knowing or...

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