You will prepare and submit a term paper on The Catcher in the Rye. Your paper should be a minimum of 500 words in length. But if we look closer, we’ll come to understand his negative outlook and bitterness toward life shows his fears and frustrations in life. At a young age, he had experienced the cruel side of life when his brother died, and when he witnessed what he calls phoniness of the world. In one phony situation, Holden described his former headmaster, Mr.Haas as the phoniest bastard he ever met. “On Sundays, for instance, old Haas went around shaking hands with everybody’s parents when they drove up to school. He’d be charming as hell and all. Except if some boy had little old funny-looking parents” (Salinger, 14. ch. 2). Holden’s experience of hypocrisy makes him view adults as superficial, insincere, and guilty of a lot of things that’s why he always quit school or gets expelled. His attitude is caused by his disappointment with the people surrounding him.
In his encounter with the nuns, Holden displays his dismay of the irony of life but at the same time shows his good heart. The line “I hate it if I’m eating bacon and eggs or something and somebody else is only eating toast and coffee. They let me give ten bucks as a contribution” (Salinger, 110. ch. 15). He is greatly depressed with the unfair world and feels sorry for the victims but somehow also feels guilty that he is a privilege while others suffer. He shows here he’s not totally a pain in the society but a boy who cares and wants to do something but just don’t know how and where to start.
Various situations in the story show his loneliness. His meeting with an old schoolmate, Luce tells that he is in a crisis. He said to Luce, “Listen, hey Luce. You’re one of these intellectual guys. I need your advice” (Salinger,144. ch. 19). He comes to a point that he is so confused he no longer trusts his own choices. His desperate need to talk to somebody pictures a troubled almost lost boy seeking help and guidance to cope up with the confusing fast-changing world. He needs someone to make him understand why and what is going on in the world
It is normal for a growing kid to get confused and sometimes deviate from the right path. Holden is no different from them. He may be strange and despicable sometimes but you cannot blame him for acting the way he did. Some factors pushed him to do such things. Every youth will pass a stage in life where they will be challenged, will rebel, get frustrated, or fall into the dark and yet they can’t explain why. Holden is not one of those delinquents that would likely end up in jail nor is he setting a bad example to the youth. He is smart, worries about his future, and cares about the world. He is simply an immature adolescent going through an identity crisis, frustrated by the negative things he sees around him. Young people like Holden need not to be condemned but given the utmost care and understanding.
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