Essay Fear of Failure in The Catcher In The Rye

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Fear of Failure in The Catcher In The Rye

Holden Caulfield, the main character in J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher In The Rye, feels that he needs to protect people around him, because he failed to protect his brother Allie from death. Holden feels that he has to care for those close to him. He watches over Jane, Phoebe, and even Mrs. Murrow when he meets her on the train. Holden tries to shield these people from distress. He does not want to fail anyone else.

Returning back home from getting kicked out of Pencey, Holden meets the mother of Ernest Murrow, a classmate of his, on the train. They introduce themselves and start talking about Ernest and how he is like in school. Holden did not tell Mrs. Murrow
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Murrow to be proud of her son: "You take somebody's mother, all they want to hear about is what a hot-shot their son is." (56) No one tells Mrs. Caulfield how wonderful Holden is; all they tell her is what trouble he has gotten into.

Holden's childhood friend, Jane Gallagher, also needs protection. She is vulnerable because of her childhood. "` Her mother and father were divorced. Her mother was married again to some boozehound... [He would] run around the goddamn house, naked, with Jane around and all.'" (32) Holden was afraid that Jane's stepfather abused her. "I asked her on the way, if Mr. Cudahy- that was the boozehound's name- had ever tried to get wise with her." (79) Even though Holden likes Jane, he does not try to take advantage of her because she needs the safety of their friendship. Holden is angry with Stradlater because he threatened Jane, and could have harmed her.

Holden's younger sister Phoebe, is also in need of Holden's protection. He must protect her because he failed to protect his brother Allie from death. Holden feels that it is his responsibility to protect Phoebe from whatever may put her in danger, even himself: "I was glad. All of a sudden I wanted her to cry till her eyes practically dropped out. I almost hated her. I think I hated her most because she wouldn't be in that play any more if she went away with me." (207) He does not want Phoebe to turn out like himself. He wants

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