Final private school and is wandering the

Final Response Journal: The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger’s American classic tells the story of a cynical and sardonic teenage boy’s journey during four particular days just before the Christmas holiday.

Holden Caulfield has been expelled from his fourth consecutive private school and is wandering the streets of New York City desperately trying to find his place in society. Several different themes arise and are established throughout the novel. Holden’s main goal is to resist the process of maturity. The Museum of Natural history signifies his fear of change. Holden believes that “the best thing . . .

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in the museum is that everything always stays right where it is. Nobody’d move . . . nobody’d be different” (121). Holden likes the world to be silent and frozen, predictable and unchanging. Instead of acknowledging that adulthood scares him, he imagines it to be superficial and full of “phonies” while childhood is a world of innocence, curiosity, and honesty.

A perfect example of this is Holden’s fantasy of the catcher in the rye field. The field represents childhood, and falling over the edge to your death is equivalent to adulthood. Holden Caulfield feel trapped on the “other side” of life in a world that he believes he doesn’t belong in.

AS the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that Holden’s alienation is a way of protecting himself. His loneliness and depression encourages him into going on a date with Sally Hayes but his need for seclusion pushes her away. It almost seems as if he purposely sabotages his own attempts to end his loneliness with Sally and Carl Luce by being rude and uncivil. While out for drinks, Holden insults Carl Luce then proceeds to call him a “real friendly bastard” (148).

Throughout the novel he drifts from one pointless encounter to the next. Holden is frequently lying and he even considers himself the “most terrific liar” (16) because it comes so naturally to him. On the train to New York, almost everything that comes out of Holden’s mouth is a lie. His random and repeated deceitful ways accent an other kind of “phoniness.

” Holden’s lying and deception may signal insensitivity, heartlessness, or even cruelty. Symbols such as the red hunting hat, the Museum of Natural History, Holden’s fantasy of the catcher in the rye field, and the ducks in the lagoon help carry out these themes.It is very hard predicting what will happen in the future. Holden jumps from flashback to flashback and scene to scene very quickly without warning. In chapter thirteen, he starts by talking about how “the only way sally’s mother would go around with a basket collecting dough would be if everybody kissed her ass for her when they made a contribution” (114), then almost immediately after says that he “started walking over toward Broadway, just for the hell of it, because he hadn’t been there in years” (114). I don’t mind not knowing what will happen next because this is how life really is.

I did figure that Phoebe would definitely go and see Holden before he left for the west, though, despite him becoming “scared that maybe that old lady in the school had told that other lady not to give old Phoebe his message” (208). She loves him too much. Also, when he said he was going to stay at a hotel in New York at the beginning, I did not have any doubts about this happening because he seemed very determined.Holden Caulfield is a troubled and incredibly judgmental boy.

He criticizes everyone who he believes to have “phony” qualities. According to Holden, Mr. Spencer is “phony” because he acts differently while teaching than he does with other members of his social class. Holden shies away from physical contact and believes that sometimes people are too affectionate. When Mr.

Antolini touches Holden’s forehead while he sleeps, Holden immediately assumes he is making a sexual advance towards him. There is little evidence that this is the case. Mr. Antolini is simply showing his affection and concern.

Holden becomes worried at first, though, because he was afraid of “turning into a flit or something” (143). Once he leaves the apartment building he regrets making such a hasty claim about his English teacher and finally starts to question his own system of making instant assessments about people. Holden started to think that “even if he was a flit he certainly’d been very nice to him” (195). At the end of the novel, the reader gets the impression that he really has turned over a new lead.

He doesn’t know what will happen in the future but he believes that he is “going to apply {himself when he goes back to school next September”.

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