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Holden's Character in The Catcher In The Rye Essay


1) Personality and description of Holden

Holden is the main character of the book

Holden reacts to conflicts in a normal way for any teenager. He simply tries to avoid it or run away from it because he feels uncomfortable. Thats why he is continually failing: at school, with his relationships (family, friends, etc.), sexual life. He has just got kicked out of another School: Pencey Prep. (1)

He is an immature person who is afraid of growing up. He is a solitary boy who cant find his place in society nor make friends. For example, when he is in New York and wants to phone somebody but he doesnt have anyone to speak to. (2 ) He doesnt have many friends and this may be because he is always criticizing everyone. (3). He also has a bad tempered sometimes and most of the time he is depressed and thinks about sad things or wants to run away from his house. (4 ) . He is always discussing or fighting or complaining about others. For example: He fights with his school friend Stradler and the lift man. (5 ). Holden acts quite impulsively and that brings him in danger sometimes. He once got a punch from his roommate for calling him a moron. (6 )

He is a sensitive and good boy with nice feelings who expects others to be good too. For example: When he tries to protect children from bad words or impure things. We can see this when he is at the museum waiting for his sister and he reads vulgar words on the walls. He wants to clean the walls. (7 ). Also when he invites Ackley to the movies and he thinks that being with him is boring and he doesnt enjoy his company. (8)

Holden only seems to like his younger sister, Phoebe from his family. Phoebe is Holdens favourite relative (excluding his brother Allie, who died from Leukaemia a few years ago) (9) - shes easy to talk to and shes fun to be around. Holden is so fond of this young girl that hes willing to spend the little money that he has to buy his little sister a record. (10) He feels he has been abandoned by all his family except Phoebe. His older brother lives away and doesnt pay attention to him. He wanted to be a writer but he left his dreams aside. Holden cant stand the idea that his brother wont try to succeed in writing. (11 ). His parents send him away to a private school, something that makes him feel alone too. The only person who is there and with whom he can talk is his younger sister who is ten years old. During the entire story Holden never talks or sees his parents. He seams to dislike them. He thinks his parents think he is a failure and that they give up on him, thats why they send him to a private school, away. He calls them phony too. (12 ).

Analysing Holdens behaviour: Holden doesnt want to grow up because he is scared of what can happen and he cant understand the world around him. He wants everything to be easy, understandable. Holden invents a world were adults are hypocrite, interested in money, superficial and liars. Thats why he calls them phonies. (13 ). Instead childhood is innocence and honest. He thinks that growing up means like being dead. (14 ).

So he creates like an imaginary wall to protect himself against the word. He fails at school, refuses to play by the rules in the game of life.(15) He fights and insults people, friends or school mates. (16) He keeps his family far away. He is always depressed and lonely because he wants to. Holdens way of being causes most of his pain. He wants to be loved and accepted but he doesnt know how. He has a very low self-esteem.

He resents his parents. He dislikes them because he thinks they feel he is a failure and useless and they give up on him.

At the end of the book he tells Phoebe about his plans of running away and she wants to go with him. While they are discussing why she cant go, he realizes that he cant run away too, because he will never find a place that is nice and peaceful as he wishes. (17 ). So when he finally realizes , he cant change the world or save the children from growing up and loosing their innocence, he has a breakdown. He cant accept that everyone has to grow up and that is a fact in life and he cant stand it. (18 )

Physical description: Holden Caulfield is six foot two inches tall. Holden is tall and thin. He has dark brown hair. He has a streak of grey that also contributes to the fact that he looks older then he really is. He is 16 years old but looks a lot older than his age. He smokes a lot and when he goes to New York, he also drinks a lot. He likes to wear a hunting red hat and he loves his brothers mitten.

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