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A Bumpy Ride for Holden in Catcher in the Rye Essay


A Bumpy Ride

In life everyone has something in life that they long to have, or search for such as love, happiness, safety, or even just a purpose in life. Throughout the book Catcher in the Rye the main character, Holden, was searching for a constant in his life. Something that did not leave or change.

Holden, like many other people is simply looking for something constant in his life. He gives us clues when he describes that he was kicked out of Pencey for flunking four subjects and not applying [himself] (4). Its apparent that Holden did not feel the need to apply himself and did not seem to be too bothered by the fact that he was being kicked out. By his reaction we can tell that this was almost a routine and this is proven when later on we find that Holden was also kicked out and did not do well in two other schools, which also proves that he was used to not being in one place for very long, because Pencey was about the fourth school [he had] been to (9). Another example is when he is lonely and wants to call someone. He keeps coming back to the idea of calling Jane, a friend from the past, who just went on a date with Stradlater. We see his loneliness emerge along with his wanting to call someone, especially Jane. He even said that [he] started toying with the ideaof giving old Jane a buzz (63). We see that when he thinks of someone to call he always seems to come back to the idea of wanting to call Jane. Jane is an old friend who he seems to have some feelings for, but mostly the thought that she went out with Stradlater is making Holden have the want and feelings for Jane. This shows his wanting of constants in his life by going back to an old friend; something that was there that was a happy point in his life. A last example is when Allie, Holdens younger brother, died of leukemia at the age of 10. Holden was really fond of his brother. He even said that the night Allie died his parents were going to have him (Holden) be psychoanalyzed because [he] broke all the windows in the garage (39). Punching the windows out of the garage shows his frustration and anger of wanting something constant in his life. After being kicked out of 4 schools and feeling that his family does not want him and trying to reconnect with people from his past shows that he lacks something constant, something he always has to rely on.

Holden has many ways in which he searches for something constant. One example of when Holden tries to find something constant in his life is when he goes and seeks out his old teachers like Old Spencer. When leaving Pencey, Holden goes to say goodbye to his old teacher Mr. Spencer. When hes there Holden even seems concerned about Old Spencers health, he even asked how [Mr. Spencers] grippe [was] (8). Going to say goodbye and being comfortable enough to call him Old Spencer instead of Mister, a more proper title, shows that Holden just wanted to have someone he could count on, or go to proving he was looking for it through Mr. Spencer. A second example of Holden searching for the consistency is when he goes to the museum. He even explained the best thing in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was (121). He went in the museum because he knew that everything was the same. It was a sense of the consistency he was searching for. A final example is when he sneaks in to see his younger sister Phoebe. Both were happy to see one another. He even quit worrying about whether theyd catch [him] at home or not (163). By not caring about whether his parents caught him and going to see Phoebe showed that Holden was searching for a family, and that same feeling of something constant in his life. The reconnections with something have shown his attempts at trying to find that consistency.

Ultimately Holden does NOT achieve that consistency in his life. After he went back home and got sick he was immediately sent to a mental hospital where there was this psychoanalyst who kept asking [him] if [he] [was] going to apply [himself] when [he] goes back to school next September (213). Being sent away and having to go to another school is a failure when it comes to him achieving the consistency Holden clearly needs. He also miss[es] everybody [he] told about (214). This shows that he is even still searching for that consistency. He even has a knew attitude about going back to school he thinks [he] is (213) which is not as bad as not going back at all. All in all Holden never really accomplished finding something constant in his life.

In the end we see that Holden is changing but has not completely. However, he still needs to reconnect with his family, and make an effort to make friends and try in school in order to become a healthier person all around. Only then will he find consistency.

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