Holden Caulfield And Poebe In Catcher In The Rye

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Chapters 21 through 25 make mention of Holden Caulfield's sister Phoebe, "old Poebe" as he affectionately calls her. It is clear from Holden's descriptions and remarks about his little sister, that he loves her. Phoebe is an ingenuous child, who readily and honestly displays her feelings. When Holden sneaks into the apartment and wakes Phoebe, she hugs him immediately. She always listens when you tell her something. And the funny part of it is she knows, half the time, what the hell you're talking about. She really does. Phoebe is honest and candid with Holden, not "phony," a characteristic that he loathes in people. When Holden tells Phoebe that he did not like anything that was happening at the school he has run away from, Phoebe…show more content…
Being rather isolated, Holden Caulfield struggles even more than most with the challenges involved with relationships as he fails to balance his desire for isolation with his desire for companionship. Although Holden constantly searches for new possible relationships, he always ends up spoiling any chance he has with one. This is shown primarily by his interactions with both Sally Hayes and Jane Gallagher. The reader first becomes aware of Holden Caulfield’s difficulties with relationships when Holden discovers his roommate, Stradlater, has a date with Jane Gallagher whom Holden used to play checkers with. Holden becomes immediately jealous and says “Jane Gallagher. Jesus. I couldn’t get her off my mind. I really couldn’t. I oughta go down and say hello to her, at least” (32). It is obvious that Holden has some interest in Jane and that she may have some interest in him but Holden can’t even bring himself to go say hello to her. Throughout the rest of the novel, Holden reminisces about Jane and is often tempted to call her and go on a date with her but often finds excuses not to call her. A similar situation is had with Sally Hayes. At first, despite his constant urge to call people and communicate with them, he resists calling Sally because her mom doesn’t like him. Finally he makes plans for a date with Sally and even though…show more content…
Various instances show how Holden’s ideas and perceptions surrounding relationships are not properly formed. For example, after dancing with the blonde women at a nightclub whom he had just met, Holden says “I was half in love with her by the time we sat down.” (73) Love is a feeling that is acquired over much more than a short dance with a girl you’ve never met before. Holden is alienated from genuine relationships so much though that a good dance with an attractive girl can trick himself into thinking he is in love. Earlier in the novel, Holden also says “sex is something I really don’t understand too hot” ( 63) yet earlier in that same chapter contradicts himself by saying “In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw” (62). It seems odd that Holden really doesn’t understand sex yet constantly thinks about it and even does actions like pay for a prostitute. Through this it is evident that Holden lacks a basis in understanding both physical and emotional

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