Literary Analysis of Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye

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Joseph Calabrisotto Mrs. Price, English IV Academic “Caulfield and Columbine” 11 December 2011 Famed 20th century writer T.S. Eliot once said, “Human kind cannot bear much reality,” (Eliot, 2) and in the cases of the fictional character Holden Caulfield and the real-life Columbine killers; he was right. In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the author portrays the main character, Holden Caulfield, as a teenager who does not understand how to deal with his reality and therefore has trouble fitting into society. In this way, he is very much like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre. An appropriate anthem for Holden Caulfield would be “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, from the CD Paranoid. J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, begins with the narrator who is coincidentally also the main character, Holden Caulfield, introducing himself. Holden informs the reader of how he is receiving treatment in a mental hospital, describes some of the things he does not like about his school Pencey Prep, and discusses how he has recently been expelled from it. During his final days at Pencey Prep Holden becomes increasingly irritated by the people there such as his history teacher Mr. Spencer, his disgusting neighbor Ackley and his cocky roommate Stradlater. These annoyances push Holden’s mind to the edge, and he decides to leave Pencey Prep early and stay somewhere in New York City by himself for three days before he is expected to arrive at home (Salinger, “The Catcher in the Rye”). Holden’s trip to the city is an adventure filled with angry cab drivers, a heartless prostitute, and a series of Holden’s realizations and memories of life. From getting punched brutally in the gut by a hotel “pimp”, to conversing with nuns about Romeo and Juliet Holden’s trip reveals many inner aspects about himself. He shares his
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