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Bitterness and Isolation in The Catcher In The Rye Essay


If you really want to hear about it, the first thing youll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap... (1). This quote is an example of how Holden Caulfield, the first person narrator of the novel The Catcher in the Rye, views the world in a bitter manner. Caulfield has flunked out of three schools, Whootan, Elkton Hills, and most recently Pencey Prep. Holden is failing four out of his five subjects at Pencey Prep, do to his lack of applying himself to school work. Dear Mr. Spencer, That is all I know about the Egyptians. I Cant seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is all right with me if you flunk me though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway. Respectfully yours, Holden Caulfield (12). Telling Mr.Spencer that it is okay to flunk him in History, for he is failing everything else besides English. This is the first sign of Holden starting to feel the effects of his breakdown, in which we feel his alienation is self inflicted.

During his time of recovery, coming from Mr. Spencers house Holden returns to his room, and has a very lengthy, uncomfortable talk with Ackely. Talking with Ackley about how much of a sonuvabitch Stradlater can be. Later, Holden recalls himself being in the bathroom with Stradlater as he is getting ready for his date. Stradlater is a roommate at Pencey Prep whom he compares to Ackley as more good looking, but a secret slob. Despite the very unsympathetic sounding of the two characters, it is more due to the tone of Holden. Holden alienated himself from Stradlater and Ackley by not focusing on matters likes wants and dreams, but more on the surface like his achene. Holden also points out the many little issues of Ackley such as his insecurity, nail trimming, pimple popping, and isolation. Almost parallel to Holdens situation in this point of his life. For Stadlater, Holden picks out how he is disgusted with him dating Jane Gallagher, a girl that Holden has strong feelings for. He isolates himself by not trying to extend out to those people in his life, but he would rather be isolated and left alone. An example would be when Jane Gallagher was waiting for Stadlater, Holden thought to go talk to her, instead he felt he was not in the mood.

When Holden leaves Pencey Prep he start traveling New York City bouncing from club to club looking for any reason not to go home and face his parents. This shows that Holden is alienating himself, but he reaches out to a taxi driver. As he gets in the taxi Holden asks where do the ducks go in the winter? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks... (60). This shows how Holden is more interested in the freedom of the ducks and would like that freedom, but he has trapped himself in his own phase of self depression. Later, when he was on the train with Mrs Morrow, mother of Ernest Morrow, Holden insists on lying to the nice lady. Afterwards, he feels bad lying about the brain surgery and his name being Rudolph Schmidt. He later realizes the wrongs that he has committed and tries to end the conversation. Later on through out the novel, Holden finds himself in a hotel room with a prostitute named Sunny. Holden ended up not wanting sex from Sunny, but a conversation.

Throughout the book there are many examples of how Holden singles himself out. Whether or not it is for attention or to be left alone, he has done this too himself. Maybe things would have changed if Spencer put more effort into shaking him out of his trance. But, regardless of the nice people in his life that branch out to him he continues to put them down with mean words and actions.

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