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Essay/Term paper: The catcher in the rye

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Biography

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Castle 1

Thomas Bryant Castle

Salenger essay

March 7, 2000

Escape from the truth

In 1950 J.D. Salenger captures one of society"s tragedies, the breakdown of a teenager, when he wrote The Catcher In The Rye. Holden Caulfield, a fickle "man" is not even a man at all. His unnecessary urge to lie to avoid confrontation defeats manhood. Holden has not matured and is unable to deal with the responsibility of living on his owe. He childishly uses a hunter"s hat to disguise him self from others. The truth of his life is sad and soon leads to his being institutionalized. He tries to escape the truth with his criticisms. Knowing he will never meet his parents" expectations, his only true friend is his eight-year-old sister Phoebe, to whom Holden tells that he really wants to be "the catcher in the rye". Holden admits his only truth and shows that Phoebe is his only friend. Another form of escape for Holden is his acting, which he uses to excuse the past. Holden has tried to lie, hide, and blame his way through life; when he finds that it is not the answer he collapses.

Holden is a pathological liar. He lies, some times for no reason. Holden says his name is Rudolf Schmidt, who is acutely the janitor, to Mrs. Morrow on the train. He continues to lie throughout the conversation and avoids getting together by saying he has a tumor in his brain. This is the type of lies Holden tells. One reason for this might be

Castle 2

that he is trying to hide his true identity. He does not want people to know who he really is or that he was kicked out of his fourth school. Holden is always using fake names and tries speaking in a tone to persuade someone to think a cretin way. He does this when he talks to women. While he is talking to the psychiatrist he explains peoples reactions to his lies like they really believe him, when it is very possible that he is a horrible liar and they are looking at him with a "what are you talking a bout?" expression. Holden often lies to the point where he is lying to him self.

To Holden ever one is a "phony", and every one has a problem that he feels he needs to exploit. While Holden is speaking to the psychiatrist, he criticizes each person as he meets them in his story. When Holden and Sally Hayes went to the Lunts they met with at guy from Andover, Ivy league. George and Sally talked about people and places. Holden could not tae there boring conversation and said how phony they were. Their conversation continued during the next act. Holden explains how it was the phoniest conversation he ever heard. In most cases his accusations are actually definitions of his own character and personality. By criticizing others Holden can protect him self and hide the truth with others faults.

Holden is a child at heart. He can understand children and enjoys there company. Knowing this we can come to the conclusion that Holden is childish and may react to a situation as a child might. At cretin points in the book Holden wonders where the ducks from central park go, who will take care of them. Like a child Holden needs someone to take care of him and this is one thing that leads to his breakdown. While Holden is

Castle 3

staying in the Edmount Hotel he is involved in a situation where he owes Sunny (a whore) and Maurice (the elevator guy) five dollars. Holden try"s to keep it from them but

they force it out of him. Maurice put Holden up against the wall. Tears pour form Holdens' eyes yet he still refuses. Maurice wails his fist into Holdens' stomach and Sonny takes the money from his wallet. They took off and Holden stagers out the door holding his gut like he had been shot. This is not the only example of childish behavior explained. Holden often resorts to this reaction when there is nothing else he can do.

Holden can only protect him self for a short while. He soon falls into great depression and has a mental breakdown which leaves him institutionalized. His lies, his criticism, and his childish behavior got him little peace. His truth is shown and his only escape failed. Holden Caulfield, a child needs to be cared for and when they fall they must be caught. Holden is still a child, suffering from sever depression he does not have the strength to deal with the world as an adult.


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