Essay on Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

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Relationships with Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is written from a first person narrative to be able to convey to the reader Holdens thoughts and feelings and this makes his character seem more believable. Holden describes what he himself sees and experiences, providing his own commentary on the events and people he describes. It takes the form of, perhaps, a session with a psychoanalyst or a one sided conversation with the reader during which Holdens attitudes to other people emerges. We learn that he finds it very difficult to maintain relationships with people and I will be examining Holden’s relationship with adults and with his sister and how they differ.

Holdens attitude towards adults is
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Life is a game that one plays according to the rules”. However, Holden reacts negatively to this statement and although he does not say it he thinks; “Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right—I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.”
This indicates to the reader his silent dislike for adults and is shown by the mocking of Mr Spencer. We also see how alienated he feels; he clearly identifies with those on the “other side” of the game, and he feels as though he is alone and that the world is against him. Mr Spencer continues to talk to Holden about his academic life which irritates Holden as he does not like talking about it and would prefer to avoid the issue.

Holden then begins to wish he had not come and whilst Mr Spencer is lecturing him Holden’s mind begins to wonder about the ducks in
Central Park. This shows how he is reluctant to admit to his problems and how he prefers to avoid issues that he does not want to discuss.
His wandering thoughts are also an effort to avoid Spencer’s questions, especially when he asks, "How do you feel about all this?"
The truth is that Holden, even though he is constantly thinking, is trying desperately not to feel anything.

Holden characterises Mr Spencer’s behaviour as vindictive and mean, but his is clearly just
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