Analysis of Holden Caulfield
In the novel, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ Holden Caulfield has been presented as the protagonist with a troubled past, showing only apathy towards his future. I believe that J.D. Salinger has attempted to create a character that can be related to by people of all different backgrounds and has been successful in doing so. The contrast between what’s happened in his past, such as being expelled from 4 different schools, and his unique way of expressing his discontent, appeals to people from completely different backgrounds as well. However, you find out that Caulfield’s emotional state can be blamed on two events, such as the death of his brother Allie and the suicide of his classmate, however, the exclusive and almost laid-back way that he deals with these emotional traumas really speak out to the reader.
During the novel, it’s easy to pick up a lot of Holden’s personal characteristics. An example of this is how indecisive he is and how he can often change his mind in an instant. An illustration of this is when Caulfield decides to ‘give old Jane a buzz’ but then decides against it just because her mom picked up the phone and he then claims, ‘you have to be in the right mood for these things.’ This happens quite often in the novel, however when Caulfield does make up his mind about something, he usually tries to back his point by repeating himself such as when he says, ‘he really did.’ This emphasises Holden’s insecurity of his own opinions as he feels he has often been ridiculed for having different opinions to the vast majority of people. Another example of Holden’s contradictory behaviour is when he arranges a date with Sally Hayes, despite calling her ‘stupid’ and then telling her that he loves her and that he ‘really meant it’. This could show that Holden is still at a point of childhood where he is still unsure of right and wrong so occasionally gets caught up between the two which does have a comedy aspect to it.