Examples Of Holden's Response To The Environment

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In “The Catcher in the Rye”, the main character, Holden Caulfield, has a very unique way of responding to the environment (people, events, etc.) around him. For example, he calls everyone phonies while being a phony himself. He dislikes people like Sally Hayes and Carl Luce while desiring social interaction with them. This behavior seems very irrational; however, it can be explained by understanding his inner world. And through Holden’s story about his mental breakdown, we can understand his inner world. As a result of reading this story, I’ve learned that no matter how strange and different a person’s response to his/her environment is from our own perspective, we can always understand him/her if we can comprehend his/her inner world. The…show more content…
Salinger’s method of implementing the story’s progression based on Holden’s mental state while showing Holden’s irrational and unpredictable response to the world really makes the readers curious about what’s going to happen next; thus, making the book very interesting to read. In Chapter 7, Holden had his first emotional breakdown in the book: “When I was all ready to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the damn corridor. I was sort of crying.” (Salinger, 52). Holden left his dormitory because of his emotional state of mind. Before his departure, in Chapter 6, Holden got beaten up by his roommate, Stradlater. Stradlater had avoided telling Holden whether he had sexual intercourse with the girl Holden liked. Holden tackled Stradlater first, and then he got punched down to the ground by Stradlater twice with his nose bleeding. Holden messed up his relationship with his roommate, so he went to his Ackley’s dorm to get comfort. However, when Ackley fell asleep, Holden suddenly woke him up, and he basically insulted Ackley’s religion; Holden was being very sarcastic. Ackley was very offended and mad. They both were, so Holden left Ackley’s room in anger. The constant worsening of Holden’s emotional state of mind is what drove him crying and yelling in the dorm’s corridor before leaving Pency Prep. There are many other examples of the author using Holden’s crumbling mental state to unfold his story like when Carl Luce ditched Holden in Chapter 19, leaving Holden to get drunk and depressed in the bar by himself in Chapter 20. Salinger’s intention is for readers to be able to understand Holden’s behavior, or even consider his behavior normal because they know what happened before and the inner thoughts that drive Holden’s
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