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Essay on Holden Caulfield

Holden Caulfield, the main character of Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, is a young teenager who is seeking the answers to many important questions regarding his identity. He not only tries to understand the world around, Holden meets a great deal of difficulties on his way which put him on a special level in the society. Unfortunately, this young man feels lonely in the society he lives.

My goal in this essay is express my personal attitude to Holden Caulfield and to prove the fact that if Holden were a student at Cajon High School he would not be my friend.

Holden is a person who passes the period from adolescence to adulthood. He does not want to accept the help of other people. Moreover, he shuns them. May be, this fact is connected with the consequences of “the grievous events” which had a certain influence on his personal development.

Holden lost his younger brother early in his life and he witnessed the death of his classmate James. Of course, his mental state is injured. He misses his brother and thinks of the suicide of his classmate. (Bloom 26)

Holden wants to be a mature man. He smokes, ingests alcohol and he is not indifferent to sex. It is clear that something troubles this young man. He even flirts with mature women and hires a prostitute because he wants to be a mature man. However, he is an alien in the society because he considers that everyone in the society is “a phony”. (Bloom 38)

He is in great depression which leads to the necessity of therapy treatment. Holden thinks too much about death, about his own death. It seems that he possesses the death wish when he speaks about suicide or thinks about his funeral. (Salinger 57)

I think that such person as Holden Caulfield who failed out from Pency prep school would not study at Cajon High School too. Pency School was not the first school from which Holden Caulfield was expelled. Holden is constantly alone. He needs someone to have a talk but most people he meets on his way do not understand him. The only closest person in the life of Holden is his younger sister Phoebe. The other thing that prevents Holden to be my friend is the fact that he always feels betrayed in his life. At the beginning of the novel, his teacher, Ms. Spencer betrays him by breaking the news of Holden’s expulsion.(Salinger 32)

The next example is Stradlater who betrays Holden by going out on a date with his best friend Jane. (Salinger 46)

Holden is also betrayed by Phoebe who is disappointed in the fact that he failed out of Pency school. (Salinger 190)


I think that such person as Holden Caulfield is a sensitive and unsophisticated nature whose mental health was greatly injured by the grievous events. He needs special psychological treatment. I cannot say that my attitude to Holden is absolutely negative. I am pitiful to him. He should be more optimistic and ambitious. It is impossible to cope with all the difficulties in life having such a relation to the world around.


Works Cited

Bloom, H. J.D. Salinger’ the Catcher in the Rye. Chelsia House, 2000. Print.
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown. 1991. Print.