The Catcher in the Rye
Journal Assignment 3
3. Holden is tormented by seeing things too deeply and too closely. We believe that knowledge may be harmful to the individual. What is your opinion?
It has been quoted many times, the triviality of knowledge and the power that comes with it. But ever so often - that power can be so overwhelming, until we are rendered helpless in the face of its colossal presence and questionable significance. “Ignorance is bliss”, but can ignorance be justified in todays world? As a classmate of mine said and to which I have to agree with, “I do not want to die a fool.”
Holden Caulfield is a representation of all of us. We understand that he acknowledges the ‘phoniness’ and corruption that comes with entering the adult world and like most of us, he is very much frightened and adopts a peculiar desire to be a protector of innocence, a catcher in the rye. Throughout the novel, we get the impression of a reluctant game player that has an unmatched distaste for the rules of the game itself. Holden is constantly seen testing the waters of the world of grown-ups, dipping his toes in only to pull them back out. We can only watch as we see Holden retract further into himself until he is eventually driven into a mental institute. It may sound like a hopeless ending, but nothing particularly bad happens to Holden either.
The burden of knowing too much in Holden’s life is questionable. Some may see Holden’s fantasy of preserving innocence as nothing but a fool’s errand that only leads to madness, but it is also arguably a noble one. Holden loses out because he seems to dwell too heavily and is far too caught up with the ugly truths of things. Everything seems to depress the hell out of him, in his own words, even if the situation does not directly involve him at all. In a sense, he is way too empathetic for his own good. Relating this to ourselves, if we are perpetually immersing ourselves into the problems of the world and...