Who Is Holden Caulfield? Essay

Many striplings struggle with happening who they are and how they fit into this universe. Harmonizing to Lewis Judd’s “The Normal Psychological Development of the American Adolescent. ” striplings develop a sense of self-concept through the agencies of experimentation. reveries. and in existent or physical activities. Holden Caulfield. in The Catcher in the Rye. is one such illustration. Troubled by the early decease of his brother. Allie. and with no 1 to steer him through adolescence. he finds himself lost. Holden struggles the most with his sense of individuality. which is displayed through his interactions with equals and aliens. his ideas about himself. and his contradictions. Holden frequently plays around with his individuality while around other people. The article states that. “Young people can non be expected to cognize automatically what sort of individual they want to be as grownups. without being able to by experimentation work in a figure of personality and vocational roles” ( Judd. 467 ) .

Holden expresses his experimentations verbally. exchanging in and out of different personalities. He does non wish to give his existent name to aliens. but alternatively makes one up. He goes by the assumed name Rudolph Schmidt when he speaks to a classmate’s female parent on the train and so becomes Jim Steele in the Lavender Room and when he is with Sunny. a cocotte Holden hires to maintain him company. He besides likes to alter his individuality around equals. While he and Ackley are in the room. and everyone else is down at the football game. Holden does an act. “What I did was. I pulled the old extremum of my runing hat around to the forepart. so pulled it manner down over my eyes. That manner. I couldn’t see a blasted thing. ‘I think I’m traveling blind. ’ I said in this really gruff voice. ‘Mother darling. everything’s acquiring so dark in here. ’ … ‘Mother darling. why won’t you give me your manus? ’ I was merely horsing about. naturally” ( Salinger. 21-22 ) . Although Holden says that he merely does these things because he is bored. or “just for the snake pit of it. ” but his actions give penetration to his ideas and feelings.

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When Allie dies. Holden reacts violently and interrupt all the Windowss in the garage. This is the darkness that enters his life. His parents want to acquire him psychoanalyzed. which shows that they care. yet Holden feels as if his parents do non detect him and make non care about him. Feigning to be unsighted and incapacitated and naming out for aid symbolizes Holden’s need to be shown fondness from his parents. which he felt he has ne’er received. Because of this. Holden does non hold an grownup figure to assist him acquire through adolescence. How Holden positions himself and what he wants to be alterations with the state of affairs. The article states that. “Day-dreaming is a pleasant. popular interest and during adolescence it is purposeful in that it brings alleviation from outside force per unit areas and allows for the mental dry run of the present and future roles the stripling may play” ( Judd. 468 ) . In one case. Holden recalls losing his baseball mitts and imagines himself non being such a xanthous. or cowardly. cat. In his phantasy. he would name out the individual who stole them and bop the cat. but in world. he doesn’t have the backbones. the strength. or attention to make it. Many of his reveries are unrealistic.

When Phoebe asks him wants to make as a occupation. Holden responds by stating. “Anyway. I keep visualizing all these small childs playing some game in this large field of rye and all. Thousands of small childs. and nobody’s around-nobody large. I mean-except me. And I’m standing on the border of some brainsick drop. What I have to make. I have to catch everybody if they start to travel over the drop … I have to come out from someplace and catch them. That’s all I’d do all twenty-four hours. I’d merely be the backstop in the rye. I know it’s loony. but that’s the lone thing I’d truly like to be” ( Salinger. 173 ) . Although reverie is normal. Holden gets caught up in it and does non recognize how implausible they are. This shows that his head is in a dream universe because the world is that being the backstop in the rye is non a existent occupation ; it is merely a metaphor. Additionally. if the top of the drop represents childhood and the autumn represents the journey into and through adolescence. he would non be able to halt it. no affair how much he would wish to.

Children must turn up. yet that is something that Holden pig-headedly refuses to accept. His desire to be the backstop in the rye inhibits the world of holding to travel to school and holding to acquire an existent occupation. which causes struggle when Holden does non seek and invariably gets kicked out of school. In many parts of the novel. Holden contradicts himself. The article views this. excessively. as a normal thing. saying that. “It [ experimentation ] is this procedure that accounts for such behavioural incompatibilities … altering from mature actions to frustratingly infantile 1s … much of this behaviour is carried on with perplexing velocity and without the adolescent’s being cognizant of any contradiction. for it is being done with feeling. passion. and purpose” ( Judd. 468 ) . He invariably says he hates prevaricators and hypocrites. yet he calls himself a terrific prevaricator and feels no compunction when he lies. He calls himself a pacificist. yet merely prior to that he had tried to bop Stradlater. his roomie. for traveling out with Jane. a childhood friend of Holden.

In many ways. Holden is a dissembler and a hypocrite. yet he is besides merely a baffled adolescent that doesn’t cognize how he should move. He claims to be an atheist. yet he seems to be really interested in faith. After his battle with Stradlater. he asks Ackley about his faith. “’Listen. What’s the modus operandi on fall ining a monastery? ’ I asked him. I was kind of dallying with the thought of fall ining one. ‘Do you have to be Catholic and all? ’ … ‘I’m non gon na fall in one anyhow. The sort of fortune I have. I’d likely join one with all the incorrect sort of monastics in it. All stupid assholes. Or merely bastards’” ( Salinger. 50 ) . Then. after Cheery foliages. he starts believing about faith once more. “I felt like praying or something. when I was in bed. but I couldn’t make it. I can’t ever pray when I feel like it. In the first topographic point. I’m kind of an atheist” ( Salinger. 99 ) .

He is particularly conflicted with faith. which is profoundly tied to the individuality of a individual. harmonizing to Erin Wilson’s article. “Religion and Identity – As much bad as good? . ” The article states that. “It is this hunt that gives faith its ability to deeply impact our individuality: faith offers replies to our most hard inquiries. It has the power to give us a sense of intent that extends beyond ourselves” ( Wilson ) . Religion is something that is an of import portion of an person. but Holden’s uncertainness on the topic merely creates more confusion while he is on his journey to happen his individuality. Holden seems to desire to belong to a faith. to experience a sense of belonging and for person to understand him. However. he is besides loath. shown when he decides to bury about fall ining a monastery for fright of acquiring the “wrong” 1.

This demonstrates how frightened he is. because he is afraid to seek and believes that something will travel incorrect. However. if he is non non willing to set himself out at that place. he will non acquire anyplace. Holden’s struggles with individuality are a normal portion of the procedure of acquiring through adolescence. and his alterations in personalities. names. and ideas reflect his changeless edifice of individuality. In order to happen his individuality. Holden should go on experimentation in a manner that dos non harm anyone.

However. he needs to recognize that he must work harder in school. as he nears the terminal of adolescence he will necessitate to happen a occupation that really pays so that he can back up himself financially. Readers can larn from Holden that experimentation with individuality is a normal portion of maturating into an grownup. and that there may be many jobs along the manner.

Plants Cited

Judd. Lewis. “The Normal Psychological Development of the American Adolescent. ” California Medicine. ( 1967 ) : 465-470. Print. Salinger. J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Bantam Books. 1951. Print. Wilson. Erin. “Religion and Identity – As much bad as good? . ” Pulse-Berlin. N. p. . Web. 15 Oct 2012. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. pulse-berlin. com/index. php? id=28 & gt ; .

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