J.D Saligner, The Cather in the Rye

948 Words Feb 22nd, 2018 4 Pages
Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden Caulfield’s life is affected by an inability to connect with others and an intense fear of sexuality. Many readers may infer that Holden has a fear of adulthood and sexuality because he is unable to move past his younger brother Allie’s death. While Holden’s fear and rejection of sexuality may be linked to his inability to move on, Holden’s deeply negative reactions to hints of intimacy may stem from a deeper cause: an unresolved, unwanted sexual event in his past.
The biggest indicator and closest mention of such an event comes up when Holden stays the night at his former schoolteacher Mr. Antolini’s house. Holden awakes to Mr. Antolini petting Holden’s head in the middle of the night. Although this may have been an innocent act, it brings up an intense reaction from Holden where he “was shaking like a madman. [He] was sweating a lot, too.” This occurs “when something perverty happens,” which Holden says has “happened to [him] about twenty times since [he] was a kid” (Salinger 193). Victims of sexual abuse “may experience… nightmares or flashbacks” and Holden acts as if he had a flashback to previous abuse (Adult Manifestations par. 4). Though Holden does have a history of exaggerating and lying, his reaction is a clear statement that some unwanted sexual event occurred when Holden was a child. With such an event occurring in his childhood,…
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