Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden and the Complexity of Adult Life

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Holden and the Complexity of Adult Life

What was wrong with Holden, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger, was his moral revulsion against anything that was ugly, evil, cruel, or what he called "phoney" and his acute responsiveness to beauty and innocence, especially the innocence of the very young, in whom he saw reflected his own lost childhood. There is something wrong or lacking in the novels of despair and frustration of many writers. The sour note of bitterness and the recurring theme of sadism have become almost a convention, never thoroughly explained by the author's dependence on a psychoanalytical interpretation of a major character. The boys who are spoiled or turned into budding
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What happens to him is heart-rending. To many readers some of his words and accidents that befall him may seem to be too raw to be expressed in the words of a childish youth. If readers can be shocked in this manner they should be advised to let the book alone.

What was wrong with Holden was his moral revulsion against anything that was ugly, evil, cruel, or what he called "phoney" and his acute responsiveness to beauty and innocence, especially the innocence of the very young, in whom he saw reflected his own lost childhood. The book is full of the voices and the delightful antics of children. Especially he adored his stalwart and understanding little sister, who in the end undoubtedly saved him from suicide. And there were the memories of his dead brother, whom he had loved, and a teacher in the first school from which he was dismissed. He had no other friends, dead or alive. He accepted his parents, whose union had been happy, as one of the stable factors in a devastating world. When he ran away from school he knew that he had three days before they would hear of his dismissal from the headmaster. His desire to escape from the ordeal of their disappointment in him and to hide in New York, to go underground, is understandable. Not every boy would have done it, but the reader is convinced that Holden would and that his behavior throughout the book is
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