The Catcher in the Rye - Character Analysis of Holden Caufield

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The Catcher in the Rye - Character Analysis of Holden Caufield

In J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caufield, describes in detail the parts of his life and his environment that bother him the most. He faces these problems with a kind of naivety that prevents him from fully understanding why it is that he is so depressed. His life revolves around his problems, and he seems helpless in evading them. Among others, Holden finds himself facing the issues of acceptance of death, growing up, and his own self-destructiveness.

One of the hardships Holden must cope with is his inability to come to terms with death, in particular that of his younger brother, Allie. Holden seems to have experienced a
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In chapter twenty-five, Holden, while walking along Fifth Avenue, begins to believe that he will not be able to get to the other side of the street each time he reaches the end of a block, as if he will just "fall off." He talks aloud to Allie to help him get through the ordeal. Holden also continues to see Allie as one of the few things he likes about life.

Yet another demon that Holden avoids is the process of having to grow up. Throughout the book, he seems hesitant to develop any real ambitions or goals. He is a perpetual failure at school. He refuses to associate himself with mature ways of living, and so isolates himself from anyone his own age or older. This is all directly connected to Holden's picture-perfect image of his childhood. He sees this particular period of his life as his own personal paradise. He does not want to finalize the fact that he has to concede it's innocence in the end. Towards the end of the book, Holden shows his desire for life to remain as it was by saying, "...certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone." Holden does not want to join a world of phonies and greed, a world lacking in carelessness and irresponsibility. He won't, whether consciously or not, accept the fact that he has no choice.

A final conflict in the life of Holden Caufield is his own self-destructiveness. That he is
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