Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger writes about a confused, aimless teenage boy named Holden Caulfield. Holden’s obsessive habits reoccur frequently throughout the book. These habits include his obsession with change, phonies and that he thinks he is all alone. Mr. Antolini, however, is a character who encourages change in Holden and a decline in isolation. All of these obsessions come together through change, however.
Holden holds on to his perception of how the world should stay the same and not change. This eludes to part of the meaning of his name as well and how he holds on to things. He holds on to his brother Allie’s death as well as holding on to Allie’s baseball glove which has poems written all over it. Every time something changes or Holden feels uncomfortable and lonely, he brings up his brother Allie. After Holden left Mr. Antolini’s house,
something very spooky started happening. Every time [Holden] came to the end of the block and stepped off the goddam curb, [he] had this feeling that [he’d] never get to the other side of the street…and nobody’d ever see [him] again…. Every time [he’d] get to the end of a block [he’d] make believe [he] was talking to [his] brother Allie…then when [he] reached the other side of the street without disappearing, [he’d] thank him. Then it would start all over again…but [he] kept going and all, [he] was sort of afraid to stop. (197)
Because of Holden’s uncomfortable feeling after Mr. Antolini rubbed his head, Allie came into the story again. When Allie is inserted in the story, he is used as Holden’s hold on childhood. In this instance Allie is Holden’s saving grace in a way. Allie died three years before this story is said to take place. Holden is upset that he could not save Allie, therefore when Holden is stressed Allie comes in and tries to save Holden, a switch in roles. In addition, the middle of the street that Holden is afraid of symbolizes the change from childhood to...