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Character Analysis of Holden in the Catcher in the Rye

Uploaded by spootyhead on Mar 19, 2007

Character Analysis of Holden in "Catcher in the Rye"

In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, Holden, the main character wants to be a “catcher.” Holden hears a young boy on the street singing “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” and it made Holden feel better (115). He wants to be the only big person around in a rye field, near a cliff, to catch all the kids playing from running off the cliff. It is obvious from this statement that Holden wants to help children, but how can Holden when he cannot even take care of himself? A competent catcher would be somewhat like a counselor or social worker in the sense that they would help children from following a destructive path. A counselor or “catcher” must be honest, mature, responsible, motivated, and caring. Although Holden is caring, which is a quality that makes a good catcher, he still lacks many of the other necessary qualities to be a competent “catcher in the rye.”

One quality that Holden lacks to be a competent “catcher” is honesty and Holden even says, “I’m the most terrific liar you ever say in your life” (16). He lies quite often, even when it comes to simple things like going to the store to buy a magazine, but instead says he is going to the opera. To leave an annoying conversation faster, he lies to Mr. Spencer, one of his teachers, and tells him he has to leave for the gym to get the fencing equipment, when in fact Holden left the equipment on the subway (15). Holden also lies when he is on the train and tells Mrs. Marrow nothing but falsehoods about her son, who attends Pencey with Holden, by stating that he “adapts himself very well to things” (55). It would not be right for Holden to be a dishonest catcher. It is important to teach a child to tell the truth, so how could he be a competent catcher when he constantly lies?

Another quality that Holden lacks to be a competent “catcher” is maturity. He even justifies his immaturity by stating that he is just going through a phase. A mature person would be able to handle difficult, tough situations reasonably and Holden cannot. Unable to...

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Uploaded by:   spootyhead

Date:   03/19/2007

Category:   Catcher in the Rye

Length:   5 pages (1,140 words)

Views:   8853

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