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Catcher In The Rye Alienation Essay Research



In the book, Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden

Caufield, the main character is a negatively charged person,

doesn’t want himself or others around him to grow up, and

suffers from depression because of his brothers death. This is

obviously Holden’s way of alienating the entire world and

delaying the consequences of facing reality. Alienation is a big

theme in Catcher In The Rye, and something that Holden

depends on most often.

Holden Caufield is a negatively charged character as

expressed on the first page of the book before Holden

tells his opinion about his childhood. He says, “If you really

want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to

know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was

like…” (Pg. 1) Holden shows here that he was negative and

depressed even in his childhood years which is mainly due to

his brother, Allie’s death. Holden’s alienation toward the world

is what causes these unwanted character traits of Holden’s.

Holden is also a hostile character who attributes his negativity

to block out others around him, and to delay the fact that he

indeed will have to face reality sometime. Holden’s pattern of

speech, the constant expression of negativity, is a character

trait Holden possesses that shows the inner pain he feels.

Holden truly shows that he does not want to grow up

and he does not want other children to grow up either. Holden

believes that all adults are phonies, like Principal Thurmer.

Holden hates phonies and that’s why he doesn’t want children

to grow up, do they won’t become phonies. Holden’s hatred

towards adults is due to his brother’s death. Holden

probably somewhat blames his parents for not stopping his

younger brother’s death. Holden alienated phonies or adults

because of this. Holden believes that he cannot depend on

adults because they are phonies like Principal Thurmer.

Holden’s inability to accept growing up causes much

depression for Holden and makes Holden suicidal. At what

time, Holden does in fact feel suicidal. “…what I really felt like,

though, was committing suicide.” This shows that Holden has

not really accepted the fact that everyone has to grow up

sometime no matter how much u don’t want to because no one

can stay a child forever.

Holden suffers from depression due to his brother, Allie’s

death. This is mainly because lack of closure of his brother’s

death. There is one moment when Holden expresses how he

talks out loud to Allie, even though he is dead. “What I did, I

started talking out loud to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get

very depressed.” This portrays sadness to the point that

Holden needs closure on his brother’s death so bad that the

lack of closure may even be leading to clinic depression or

slight insanity on top of his being suicidal. Holden probably in

some way blames himself for his brother’s death due to not

always letting Allie play with him when they were little. Holden

feels like committing suicide at one time which shows the true

depth of Holden’s depression. Holden’s deep depression

comes from his alienation towards people in general, the way

he refuses to let others deep in his heart and his inability to

accept certain things such as his brother’s death. Holden

badly needs closure on his brother’s death so he can rid

himself of his deep depression and go on to inevitably grow up

like the rest of the world.

In conclusion, Holden is a negative character, had yet to

realize that everyone has to grow up sometime, and suffers

from possible clinic depression due to lack of closure on his

brother’s death. Holden’s alienation towards the world is

clearly what brings on this rejective personality of Holden’s.

Another aspect of Holden that drives this personality of his is

his estrangement towards facing reality. This can most likely

be compared to many people in the real world which is just one

of the reasons why Catcher In The Rye, is such a wonderful

book. Until people like Holden realize that growing up is an

inevitable action in one’s life and that facing reality is a must to

survive life, then those people will be stuck in the world of

untruth where no person can be successful and where

destinies cannot be pursued until the realization that these are

just stages in life that must be completed is met.

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