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The Catcher In The Rye is a J. D. Salinger’s novel narrated by a guy named Holden Caulfield. The story beings when Holden flunks out of Pency Prep in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. Pency was Holden´s fourth school. He has already failed out of the three others. He failed most of his subjects except English. Holden receives a note from the school that he is being expelled. He was not allowed to return home until Wednesday. In Manhattan he spent 3 days in hiding before returning home because he was scared of his parents’ reaction. He faces a lot of new situations in those 3 days in the city.
The way Holden narrates the story is very strange. He jumps from one story to another without finishing the story. Holden tries to connect to people. But is unable to do it. Mostly because of how judgemental he is of almost everything and everybody. He even judges the people who are close to him. He criticizes people who are boring, insecure and all. He also has a tendency to not like anything. for example, you could give him a gift he wants but he will still complain. He generalizes individuals and adulthood as “phony”. He calls movies phony. he called the word “grand” phony also he friends. He behaves immaturely and makes many inappropriate choices which can make others furious. He is a very privileged boy and does not appreciate anything that’s given to him or he has. He is ungrateful of all the good things he has in his life. He pretends not to care about anything but he actually cares a lot. For instance, when he got kicked out of peace. That’s why he was scared of going home. He makes rules by himself and also imagines various many situations. He shows this when he is supposed to write a descriptive composition about a room for his friend, but he writes about his brother’s mit instead. The fact that he has been kicked out of 3 schools shows he doesn’t like systematic places and he doesn’t like following rules. He tries running away from all his problems like instead of going home and facing his parents he decides to hide. Which is very childish. He seems to not care about anything nothing seems to bother him.
He pretends to be older than his age. He is only 16 but he is 6.2 and has grey hair, which made him think that people will also think he is over 16. In this novel, Holden is a virgin. but he is very interested in sex. In fact, he spends quite a bit of the novel trying to lose his virginity. He feels really strongly that sex should happen between people who care deeply about and respect one another. Moreover, he is annoyed by the fact that he is aroused by women who he does not really like or care for, like the blonde tourist he dances with in the Lavender Room, or like Sally Hayes, whom he calls “stupid” even though he asks her on a date with her. On the date, Holden plans to run away from everyone and everything and have a family with Sally. Which shows he is scared to face adulthood. Also in the novel, he says “ do not let me disappear Allie”. This tells he does not want to get older. The climax of the story comes when Holden visits Phoebe, she becomes angry and furious hat Holden has been expelled from another school and tells him his parents will be really mad once they find out. And confronts him about why he doesn’t like anything. Holden says he likes his brother, Allie, but Phoebe points out that Allie is dead. After Holden continued to try to delay adulthood until he can’t run any further. He goes to see Mr Antolini, an adult who showed bravery and compassion after James Castle’s death. James Castle was one of Holden’s school mate in a previous school. He thought Mr Antolini would help him combat his situations but instead he gets freaked out by Antolini’s pedophelic behaviour and runs away from there too. He then decides to run away from everything and everyone. but fails when his little sisters insist on coming with him.
In conclusion, Holden is a very ungrateful young man, who finds it difficult to get along with others because of his behaviour. And how he always tries to escape from all his problems with lies. Holden´s character in this novel was very unpredictable because he was confused about most of the things and was always unsure if he likes it or not. He mostly did not like anything except for his parents, sister, and his brothers especially Allie. He can not answer when his little sister asks him what’s the one thing he likes. He was unable to answer the question. He only said he likes Allie. Holden was a complex character hard to understand. Later on, when he starts to realize things about his life and he starts to cry. At the end of his story, Holden calmly watches Phoebe riding a carousel, secure for the moment in her childhood innocence and not worried about adulthood or future. The novel ends with Holden getting the hope that his experience was actually very transformational and he may apply himself at his next school and study well. Nonetheless, his tone of narrating the story was very similar to the rest of the novel, which makes me question whether he has actually learned from his mistakes and gained maturity or he is just saying these cause he feels bad for the time being.
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