Last Updated 09 Apr 2020

Holden Caulfield

Category Holden Caulfield
Essay type Research
Words 1273 (5 pages)
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Interaction: Catcher in the Rye Reading “Catcher in the Rye” was very interesting in the way that the narrator, Holden Caulfield, and I relate with our fears. We both are afraid to grow up and face real world realties and slowly having to leave our safe and innocent childhood for lonely adulthood. However, the difference between Holden and I are that I’m accepting the new phase in my life, while Holden simply rejects it. Phoebe Caulfield, Holdens youngest sister, becomes angry with Holden and his refusal to grow up.

She sees that his denial to mature is seen as foolish. Also, she realizes that all the bitterness toward the world he has is really bitterness toward himself. Toward the end of the book when Holden is about to leave, she wants to leave with him not because of her needing him but to understand that he needs her more. Phoebe stands more of a guide for me in the book and her judgments were greatly trusted because she understands her brother and his needs.

Furthermore, Holden is really troubled mentally and is also an extremely unreliable narrator because; he fails out of school, his complete unconcern toward his future, he is hospitalized, and visited by a psychoanalyst for an undetermined reason, and he is unable to connect with people. Throughout reading the book I was able to recognize his emotional state due to two traumas from his past: the death of his brother Allie and the suicide of one of his friends from school. However, you can’t really put a specific disorder on him from the knowledge of his past.

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Additionally, Holden is an enormously judgmental person, which bothered me, with about everything and everyone. He calls everyone a “phony” in the book, criticizes, and theorizes about people who are boring and insecure. He carries the term “phony” to those whom to him are insincere, too orthodox, or too typical. However, he actually uses the word “phony” to show his own insights of other people are superficial. This upset me because he would condemn a person without even knowing them or being aware of their past or troubles.

I felt that he had no right to talk bad about someone with his own troubles at hand. Moreover, Holdens attitude toward sex is kind of funny. He is very interested in it and actually throughout the book tries to lose his virginity. He believes that sex should happen between two people that have respect and care for each other and is upset by the fact that sex can be casual. Which I agree with him 100%, however, today in the teenage world that doesn’t happen. Also, his childish mind comes in play with this topic because he “doesn’t understand it”.

On other hand, Holdens name contains a clue. A “caul” is a membrane that covers the head of a fetus during birth. From that we can imply that “caul” in his name is his blindness toward adulthood. His name can be read as Hold-on Caul-Field: he wants to hold on to his innocence. My interaction throughout the book was mostly with Holden due to the way he thinks and acts, which was very thought-provoking for me. Summary: Catcher in the Rye The book begins on the Saturday following the end of classes at Pencey Prep.

Pencey is Holden Caulfield fourth school that he has failed out of. Before he decides to leave Pencey to New York, He visits his elderly history teacher, Spencer, to say goodbye, but when Spencer tries to lecture him for his poor academic performance, Holden becomes annoyed. When he is back at the dormitory, Holden is further annoyed by his dirty neighbor, Ackley, and by his own roommate, Stradlater. On the train back to New York, he meets the mother of one of the students at Pencey. He lies to her and said that he is on his way to New York due to a brain tumor operation.

Once he arrived at Penn Station he wants to call several people but then decides against it and gets a cab to check himself at Edmont Hotel. From his room in the hotel he sees some strange events happening from the opposite wing that cause him to become aroused. So he calls a stripper and tries to convince her to have sex with him but instead he ends up opposite wing. Instead he goes downstairs to the Lavender Room. Holden begins to flirt with three women and begins to dance with one at the end they leave, letting him pay their entire tab.

As he goes back out the lobby he recalls Jane Gallagher, a girl that he once dated. He remembers how they met and when they played golf and checkers, and held hands at the movies, things that they did together that made him very happy. Holden leaves the Edmont and takes a cab to Ernie’s jazz club; he sits alone at a table and watches the other. He runs into Lillian Simmons, one of his older brother’s former girlfriends, who invites him to sit with her and her date but he refuses and goes back to Edmont.

Maurice, the elevator operator, offers to send a prostitute to Holden’s room for five dollars, and Holden agrees. “Sunny,” arrives at his door, as she pulls off her dress Holden starts to feel “peculiar” and starts to say that he underwent a spinal operation and can’t have sex so he pays her and shows her the door. Sunny returns with Maurice, demanding another five dollars from Holden, he refuses to pay and Maurice punches him in the stomach and leaves him on the floor, while Sunny takes five dollars from his wallet.

The next day, Holden calls Sally Hayes and arranges to meet for a matinee showing of a Broadway play. While eating breakfast he meets two nuns and begins to talk about Romeo and Juliet. He gives them ten dollars and takes a cab to Central Park to look for his younger sister Phoebe. There he meets Phoebe’s classmate and she said that Phoebe might be in the Museum of Natural History. Holden knows that Phoebe’s class wouldn’t be at the museum on a Sunday, but goes there anyway, but when he gets there he decides not to go in and instead when to go meet Sally.

After the show they go to Radio City and  tries to explain to Sally why he is unhappy at school, and actually urges her to run away with him to Massachusetts or Vermont and live in a cabin. Holden ends up at a bar, quite drunk. He then decides to sneak into his apartment and wake up Phoebe. Phoebe forces Holden to tell her why he got kicked out of school which makes her mad. Holden calls his previous English teacher, Mr. Antolini, who tells Holden he can come to his apartment. Mr. Antolini asks Holden about his expulsion from school and tries to talk to him about his future.

Holden falls asleep and wakes up to Mr. Antolini stroking his forehead. Holden quickly excuses himself and leaves, sleeping for a few hours on a bench at Grand Central Station. Holden goes to Phoebe’s school and sends her a note saying that he is leaving home for good and that she should meet him. When she arrives she is carrying a suitcase full of clothes, and she asks Holden to take her with him. He refuses angrily, and she cries. He ends the story saying that he is not going to tell the story of how he went home and got “sick. ” He plans to go to a new school in the fall and optimistic about his future.

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Cite this page

Holden Caulfield. (2017, Mar 18). Retrieved from

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