Holden Caulfenstein And Absurdity

Decent Essays

In The Catcher and the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield confronts the absurdities of life, identical to those of Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus tells “of an apartment-manager who had killed himself I was told that he had lost his daughter 5 years before, that he had changed greatly since, and that that experience had ‘undermined’ him.” Just as the absurdity of the apartment-building manager’s daughter had undermined him, so has the absurd death of Allie undermined Holden. Holden loses sight of the meaning of absurd objects such as money, jobs, and school and the meaninglessness of the world begins to overtake him. In the end, Holden finds meaning in life through Phoebe and his love for her. …show more content…

Just as the boulder returned to the bottom for Sisyphus again, so did each day for Holden Caulfield.
In The Catcher and the Rye, the endless patterns of human interactions are the absurdities that are used to beg the question: what is the purpose of life? Holden has his faith rooted in the goodness of life before Allie dies. The absurdity of Allie’s death was to call to Holden’s attention the multiple absurdities of living in the earth. Holden has tried to escape the meaninglessness of life through living in the woods, running away with Sally Hayes, prostitutes, drinking, smoking, and even suicide. Yet each was a temporary solution that left him for worse, ruining his relationship with Phoebe and Sally, getting himself beat up, and leaving himself for worse.
With no meaning in life, Holden contemplates suicide. “What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed,” Holden says when he is reflecting on his life in the hotel (116). Holden is completely willing to commit suicide if it was not for all the phony people that would gather just to look at him when he “was all gory” (117). Holden was completely undermined, and like the apartment-manager almost throws the last thing he owns away.
In spite of losing practically everything he owned and every friend he had, Holden finds meaning

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