19 May 2010
What Makes Holden Unhappy?
Many people feel unhappy in their lives for various reasons. Perhaps from hatred, loss, fears, or even a few words. Holden Caulfield has unhappiness throughout most of the book because of these very reasons. He hates adults, he lost an old friend, words written on a wall upset him, and most of all he fears that children are going to fall off the cliff in the rye. All of these connect to the one thing he wants to protect. Innocence – a rather impossible thing to preserve. I think Holden is unhappy when he thinks about the loss of that innocence.
Well first off, he was actually happy when he was with Jane. He would reminisce about his past with her, like how they would play checkers, and how a simple holding of her hand made him so happy and at ease. Holden thought she was still the innocent girl of his past. That is, until Stradlater told him about his so-called steamy date with her. A good example of this would be when Holden is in the lobby of the hotel he’s staying at and says, “Every time I got to the part about her out with Stradlater in that damn Ed Banky’s car, it almost drove me crazy. I knew she wouldn’t let him get to first base with her, but it drove me crazy anyway. I don’t even like to talk about it, if you want to know the truth” (80). This shows that he is in deep denial that old Jane Gallagher could have gone that far this with his roommate. He doesn’t want to think that her innocence, that he once knew, is now gone.
One thing that made Holden upset was when he saw the words “Fuck you” written on the wall at Phoebe’s school while he was visiting. Those words definitely symbolize that loss of innocence that he worries so greatly about. This probably just reminded him of how corrupt some kids are and how one person can expose the innocent children to those impure words. Holden tells the readers that it near drove him crazy. After, he says, “I thought how Phoebe and all the other...