Holden Caulfield as Protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the novel "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger. Holden has a bleak outlook on life, but respects the basic human qualities. He views the world as having been taken over by materialistic objects such as money and that people do not realize the importance of basic human qualities such as love and kindness. He believes that these basic human qualities can take people further than any material object can. Holden is very cynical of everything around him. He sees the worst in everything and everyone. For example, he said to Phoebe, "Lawyers are all right, I guess- but it doesn't appeal to me," I said. "I mean they're all right if they go around saving innocent guys' lives all the time, and like that,…show more content…
Mr. Spencer tried to tell Holden that life can be fun, and he must grow up when he said, "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." (Salinger 8) However, Holden displays a very curious and inquisitive side to his personality after he questions the ducks in Central Park. He is also searching for a deeper meaning to life, which causes some to see him as being very naive and juvenile. Holden lacks the self-confidence that he should have because it is acting very negatively upon his mind. He has the ability to poison his mind with words, and then force himself to believe that it is true. For example, Holden said," Then I read this other article about how you can tell if you have cancer or not. It said if you had any sores in your mouth that didn't heal pretty quickly, it was a sign that you probably had cancer. I'd had this sore on the inside of my lip for about two weeks. So figured I was getting cancer. That magazine was some little cheerer upper. I finally quit reading it and went outside for a walk. I figured I'd be dead in a couple of months because I had cancer. I really did. I was even positive I would be." (Salinger 196) Holden's inability to reassure himself has led him to be very negative about himself. He does not believe that he stands a chance of success in the world, so he describes himself as a failure. Holden has been told numerous times from his teachers,
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