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The fundamentality of Holdens alienation-- a form of self protection to resist the process of maturity - Essay Example

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The fundamentality of Holdens alienation-- a form of self protection to resist the process of maturity

The book was banned in certain communities, however, because of Salinger's free language and frequent use of profanity.
Catcher in the Rye is a book about an adolescent boy caught between desire to appear grown-up and suave, while at the same time being repulsed by what he feels is phoniness in the adult world. The novel represents Holden Caulfield's attempts to come to terms with both of these polarities. Throughout the novel, the reader is presented time and time again with Holden's revolving patterns-his attempt to connect and his habit of alienating himself both from the adult world and people he meets. This essay will take a look at Holden's patterns of alienation, which in the writer's opinion represent his attempt to avoid the process of maturity. By constantly 'running away' Holden manages to evade the demands and pressures
The novel describes a period of time of three days in Holden Caulfield's life. Holden sums it up in his talk with the psychiatrist: "I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy." (The Catcher in the Rye, 1)
"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, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth," (1)

This first interaction that we witness already sets forth some of Holden's patterns. Holden anticipates what the psychiatrist will ask him, but has no desire to talk about details. This is one of Holden's repeating patterns throughout the novel-he reveals only as much as he sees fit, but rarely does he tell the whole truth. He does not feel comfortable revealing his inner self to an adult, and we will see this again and again in the novel. But his attitude about sharing is not limited to adults only; Holden often "shoots the bull" with his peers as well, but his words are evasive. The bottom line of his resistance to self-disclosure is that he does not feel comfortable in the world. In fact, he feels that he is a part of the world in which he feels he does not really belong. This is often a typical adolescent attitude, but what sets Holden apart

from his peers is that he searches for the truth, the truth about himself and the truth connected to innocence.
Holden's story starts on "the day [he] left Pencey Prep" (The Catcher in the Rye, 2). There is a football game going on, but Holden does not participate. He instead wishes to feel some kind of good-bye as he is leaving the school. Holden is getting kicked out as he did not "apply [himself]" (4) enough to the subjects. His non-committal attitude towards the school work might be puzzling to the reader, as he is very bright, but it reveals his deep resistance to "play the game" of life by the rules set forth by others. He does not believe ...Show more


When The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger first appeared in 1951 (Little, Brown and Company), it was received by critics and book reviewers as a literary sensation. The critics were almost uniform in their opinion. Clifton Fadiman called it "a rare miracle of fiction" (Cliff's Notes, 6)…
Author : ferne44
The fundamentality of Holdens alienation-- a form of self protection to resist the process of maturity essay example
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