Catcher in the Rye Essay

728 Words Oct 19th, 2013 3 Pages
In the novel Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist proves to be quite a self contradicting character. His mind is often pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires. One compelling force would be Holden’s wish for a companion against his actions and approach towards people and society. Another would be his yearn to preserve innocence compared to his desire to fit in with adults. Both of these contradicting forces within the main character, Holden, illuminate the meaning of the novel as a whole.
One main conflicting force in the novel would be Holden’s desire for companionship against his attitude and behavior towards everyone he meets. Most of the novel describes his search for friendship as he moves
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Throughout the whole novel, Holden tries to protect the people he knows from the real world and encourage them to hold onto their innocence. He tries to escape the fact that as children grow up and mature they lose a sense of innocence and he is unable to bear the reality of growing up. The characters he speaks most affectionately about in the novel are children, specifically Phoebe and Allie, possibly because they are still young and have yet to enter the adult world. He sees children as pure, gentle, and innocent, in contrast to adults whom he views as “phony.” Holden is terrified that he will have to face complicated issues varying from sex, to intimacy, to facing death, as he matures into an adult. Although he is constantly trying to remain in his childhood, he strives to fit in as part of what he sees as the adult world by creating plans to run away to a cabin or work out West on a ranch on his own, which would require a mature and independent mindset. He also attempts to fit in by ordering drinks at the bar, smoking cigarettes, and attempting to start conversations about sex with Luce. His mind proves to be pulling in quite compelling directions because although he is yearning to fit in as an adult, he is stuck on trying to preserve the innocence of children and society. In general, Holden has a difficult time dealing

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