Self Destructive Behavior : Protection And Compassion

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Makoto Toyoda Catcher In The Rye FLE Dr. Loonam 10/26/14 Self Destructive Behavior: Protection and Compassion In Catcher In The Rye, Salinger uses Holden’s need of human contact to illustrate the problem of his self-alienation. His self-alienation is detrimental, ultimately blocking him from what he truly wants. Holden thinking he is better than others, which distances him from others and also hurts others in the process. Though Holden Caulfield is consistently seeking human contact and compassion, he barely gets any due to his self alienation. Part of this is because of his harsh judgement and his feeling of superiority to other people. He constantly talks about others as if he is too good to talk to any of them, further isolating himself. When Holden first goes to Mr. Spencer 's, his history teacher’s, house, he talks about him with a lack of sympathy, saying “you wondered what the heck he was still living for.” (6) He clearly doubts that Mr. Spencer’s life is not worth living for at times, even though he has not lived with Mr. Spencer or experienced life the way he has, which expresses Holden 's judgemental nature. He tells the reader about how Mr. Spencer “was pretty depressing” (7). By calling Mr. Spencer "depressing", Holden is taking pity on him, which is usually what someone of a higher figure does to someone of lower level (i.e. a parent to their child, a teacher to their student). In this

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