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Evolving Encounters in The Catcher in the Rye Essay


Evolving Encounters

In life, we as humans shape our identities by meeting and interacting with other people. But our society lives in a world of forlorn, isolated people who are unable to truly connect with others. Nowhere in literature has this been more apparent in J.D Salingers stunning novel The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield, the main character of this novel, is a struggling protagonist who continuously attempts to have connections with other human beings, and as the novel slowly progresses his attempting encounters with people evolve. Whether he is trying to connect with his classmates, old friends or strangers, Holden fails to make himself, and his concerns heard.

Holden was entered into a private school, which was called Elkton Hills. The very first day he knew he wasnt able to relate or connect with any of his classmates. He saw everyone as a phony(12) in that school. Feeling alienated from them, and never felt the need to succeed in his school work. Living in a dorm room Holden had two roommates, Stradlater and Ackley. Stradlater was this very sexy bastard(32), and Ackley was a snob in his personal habits(27) or a very nosy bastard(33), always Picking his pimples (37). Holden never talked about being without them, he always mentioned how they were all out together at the theatre, or how Ackley always picked up your personal stuff and looked at it(20) in his dorm room. For Holden, connectivity wasnt a problem, especially with these two guys always hanging around him. The only people that he was disconnected from were his other classmates and he hated them and how phony they were with a passion.

When Holden gets kicked out of school and leaves Elkton Hills private school, he goes through a lot of problems and disconnects himself from everyone. But even when he runs away from his problems, they seem to follow in his conscious and he cant get rid of his problems. As time slowly progresses through this novel, Holden becomes more unattached to the world, and reaches out to many people. He ends up calling some old friends up Sally Hayes and Carl Luce. Sally Hayes was a pain in the ass (123) for Holden, but she was so damn good-looking(124) he didnt mind having her around to talk to. He met up with her for a movie, and she was finally someone he was starting to connect too. But she never seemed to meet his criteria, and he ended up rejecting her. Then he calls his other friend Carl Luce who he didnt like to much(136) but was a very intellectual guy(136). Even though Holden had once called him a Fat-assed phony (139), Holden was determined to find someone to connect to. Once again though, as soon as Holden meets up with him, Holden pushes his away and he is once again left with no one to talk to.

Running out of people to try and connect to is one of the most difficult things Holden is going through. Holden ends up rejecting all of his classmates, and his old friends as the novel gradually moves on. But when you run out of people you previously knew, i guess you would try and meet new people to talk to and that is exactly what Holden tried to do. He met some ladies in a bar, but they were so ignorant(75), and they were not listening to him.

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