Holden's Hardships

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In J. D Salinger 's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden, goes through many hardships in his journey to self-knowledge. In the beginning, Holden has to deal with being kicked out of school and not having any place to call home. He is also struggling with the unfortunate tragedy of the death of his beloved younger brother Allie. At the same time, Holden is trying to deal with growing up and accepting the adult world. Throughout the novel Salinger addresses the conflicts faced by a young man struggling with the trials and tribulations of growing up while also confronting personal loss and loneliness along the way. In the beginning of the novel the reader learns that Holden has been kicked out of his school Pency-Prep.…show more content…
That 's all I 'd do all day. I 'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know its crazy but that 's the only thing id like to be. (173) Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye and save the children from falling off the cliff. This cliff, however, is the real world, and Holden himself is afraid of it so he wants to protect children from it. This is also demonstrated when Holden visits his sister 's school and sees swears written on the wall. This makes Holden very mad, "It drove me damn near crazy. I thought of how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they 'd wonder what the hell it meant…But I rubbed it out anyway, finally"(201). Holden was able to protect the children for a short while but a few moments later he sees the same thing written on the wall again. Only this time it is scratched in with a knife or something and Holden is unable to rub it away like before and realizes "It 's hopeless, anyway…it 's impossible" (202) he indicates here that growing up and facing certain reality is inevitable. Holden finally realizes that he can 't protect the kids from the real world when he watches Phoebe ride a carrousel at the zoo. "All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring…this thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let
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