Holden's Pessimistic View of the World in The Catcher in the Rye

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Lies, failure, depression, and loneliness are only some of the aspects that Holden Caulfield goes through in the novel The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger. Salinger reflects Holden’s character through his own childhood experiences. Salinger admitted in a 1953 interview that "My boyhood was very much the same as that of the boy in the book.… [I]t was a great relief telling people about it” (Wikipedia). Thus, the book is somewhat the life story of J.D. Salinger as a reckless seventeen-year-old who lives in New York City and goes through awful hardships after his expulsion and departure from an elite prep school. Holden, the protagonist in this novel, is created as a depressed, cynical, and isolated character and he…show more content…
One can see this because he clearly states in the dialogue that he felt like jumping out the window. Holden’s mental state of mind can literally visualizes his own suicide and how and where it would take place. This quote represents the extent of Holden’s depression and loneliness and how much of it consumes him. The tone or attitude in which Holden speaks is based on sarcasm and rudeness which shapes him as a character. He uses sarcasm throughout the book such as on page 71. He says, “I told her, ‘you’re really lucky. You know that?’ She was a real moron. But what a dancer” (71). Here, Holden is being very sarcastic and rude with this girl which forms Holden into his character. His tone towards the world and to the people in it is just careless because he doesn’t care about being nice to anyone. He continues to act this way, even to people that matter, such as on page 13, he says, “You mean about my flunking out of Pencey and all? ‘ I said. I sort of wished he’d cover up his bumpy chest. It wasn’t such a beautiful view” (13). Mr. Spencer is one of Holden’s teachers at Pencey and he doesn’t appreciate that at all. When Mr. Spencer is being sincere towards him, all Holden can think about is the fact that Mr. Spencer’s chest is “bumpy”. This truly defines Holden as a character and what kind of person he is; a sarcastic and cynical individual, all shown through his tone of voice. Diction is another important element in
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