catcher paper - In J.D. Salingers novel The Catcher in the...

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In J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, narrator Holden Caulfield is apparently immature in his actions and way of thinking. Throughout the novel, Holden attempts to find his place in a world to which he feels he does not belong. Holden feels the world has no place for him, and thus emotionally isolates himself from others to show his disconnect from society. He does not understand why he behaves in the manner he does because he only describes the events of his life without closely analyzing them. At the same time, Holden longs for a connection to the outside world and therefore cares deeply about his appearance to others, and in his search for belonging he tries to play the role of a mature adult. He swears, drinks alcohol, and behaves in a manner he perceives as adult to make himself appear mature, but his lack of self-awareness and juvenile worldview prevent him from truly maturing for most of the novel. Holden believes completing behaviors that the media has designated as “adult” will show his maturity, but he only begins to mature at the end of the novel when he realizes his idealized view of society and childhood is unrealistic. Holden feels insecure about his place in the world and therefore tries to remove himself from it, demonstrating his immaturity. Holden’s preferred isolation tactic is describing why those around him are “phonies,” with phoniness being a descriptor for a range of qualities Holden disapproves of in others, from dishonesty to pretension to superficiality. By pointing out others’ flaws, Holden sets himself apart from those around him in order to disconnect himself from the world. Holden’s desire for isolation grows stronger as his mental breakdown progresses. When he visits his sister Phoebe, Holden describes his desire to stop children from losing their innocence by becoming the catcher in the rye, “What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I
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mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day” (Salinger 173). Holden wants to
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This note was uploaded on 08/21/2008 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Bielajew during the Winter '07 term at University of Michigan.

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catcher paper - In J.D. Salingers novel The Catcher in the...

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