Catcher in the Rye: Study Flashcards
Throughout the unique, Holden appears to be left out from and taken advantage of by the world around him. As he says to Mr. Spencer, he feels trapped on “the opposite” of life, and he constantly attempts to find his way in a world in which he feels he does not belong.
As the unique advances, we begin to perceive that Holden’s alienation is his method of securing himself. Simply as he uses his searching hat (see “Signs,” below) to promote his uniqueness, he utilizes his isolation as proof that he is better than everyone else around him and therefore above engaging with them. The truth is that interactions with other individuals usually confuse and overwhelm him, and his cynical sense of supremacy acts as a kind of self-protection. Therefore, Holden’s alienation is the source of what little stability he has in his life.
As readers, we can see that Holden’s alienation is the reason for most of his pain. He never addresses his own feelings straight, nor does he attempt to discover the source of his problems. He frantically requires human contact and love, but his protective wall of bitterness avoids him from searching for such interaction. Alienation is both the source of Holden’s strength and the source of his problems. For instance, his isolation moves him into his date with Sally Hayes, however his requirement for isolation triggers him to insult her and drive her away. Likewise, he wishes for the significant connection he as soon as had with Jane Gallagher, but he is too scared to make any genuine effort to contact her. He relies on his alienation, however it damages him.
According to most analyses, The Catcher in the Rye is a bildungsroman, an unique about a young character’s development into maturity. While it is suitable to go over the book in such terms, Holden Caulfield is an unusual protagonist for a bildungsroman due to the fact that his central objective is to withstand the procedure of maturity itself. As his ideas about the Museum of Nature demonstrate, Holden fears change and is overwhelmed by complexity. He desires everything to be quickly reasonable and forever fixed, like the statues of Eskimos and Indians in the museum. He is frightened due to the fact that he is guilty of the sins he slams in others, and since he can’t understand whatever around him. However he declines to acknowledge this worry, expressing it only in a couple of instances– for example, when he talks about sex and admits that” [s] ex is something I just do not understand. I swear to God I don’t” (Chapter 9).
Rather of acknowledging that the adult years frightens and dumbfounds him, Holden develops a fantasy that adulthood is a world of superficiality and hypocrisy (“phoniness”), while childhood is a world of innocence, interest, and sincerity. Nothing reveals his image of these 2 worlds much better than his dream about the catcher in the rye: he imagines youth as an idyllic field of rye in which children romp and play; the adult years, for the kids of this world, is equivalent to death– a fatal fall over the edge of a cliff. His created understandings of youth and the adult years permit Holden to cut himself off from the world by covering himself with a protective armor of cynicism. However as the book advances, Holden’s experiences, particularly his encounters with Mr. Antolini and Phoebe, expose the shallowness of his conceptions.
“Phoniness,” which is most likely the most famous expression from The Catcher in the Rye, is among Holden’s favorite concepts. It is his catch-all for describing the superficiality, hypocrisy, pretension, and shallowness that he encounters in the world around him. In Chapter 22, just before he reveals his fantasy of the catcher in the rye, Holden discusses that adults are inevitably phonies, and, what’s worse, they can’t see their own phoniness. Phoniness, for Holden, stands as a symbol of whatever that’s wrong on the planet around him and supplies an excuse for him to withdraw into his negative seclusion.
Though oversimplified, Holden’s observations are not entirely incorrect. He can be an extremely insightful narrator, and he is extremely knowledgeable about superficial behavior in those around him. Throughout the novel he comes across lots of characters who do appear impacted, pompous, or shallow– Sally Hayes, Carl Luce, Maurice and Sunny, and even Mr. Spencer stand out as examples. Some characters, like Maurice and Sunny, are really damaging. However although Holden uses up a lot energy searching for phoniness in others, he never straight observes his own phoniness. His deceptiveness are typically pointless and harsh and he keeps in mind that he is a compulsive phony. For example, on the train to New York, he perpetrates a mean-spirited and needless trick on Mrs. Morrow. He ‘d like us to believe that he is an apotheosis of virtue in a world of phoniness, but that just isn’t the case. Although he wants to believe that the world is a basic location, which virtue and innocence rest on one side of the fence while superficiality and phoniness rest on the other, Holden is his own counterevidence. The world is not as simple as he ‘d like– and requires– it to be; even he can not stick to the exact same black-and-white requirements with which he judges other individuals.
As the source of the book’s title, this sign benefits close assessment. It initially appears in Chapter 16, when a kid Holden appreciates for walking in the street rather than on the pathway is singing the Robert Burns tune “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.” In Chapter 22, when Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life, he responds with his image, from the song, of a “catcher in the rye.” Holden thinks of a field of rye perched high up on a cliff, full of kids romping and playing. He states he would like to protect the kids from falling off the edge of the cliff by “capturing” them if they were on the verge of toppling over. As Phoebe explains, Holden has actually misheard the lyric. He thinks the line is “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” however the actual lyric is “If a body satisfy a body, coming through the rye.”
The tune “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” asks if it is incorrect for two individuals to have a romantic encounter out in the fields, away from the general public eye, even if they don’t plan to have a commitment to one another. It is extremely ironic that the word “satisfy” refers to an encounter that causes recreational sex, since the word that Holden substitutes–“capture”– handles the precise opposite significance in his mind. Holden wants to capture children before they fall out of innocence into knowledge of the adult world, consisting of knowledge of sex.
The red hunting hat is one of the most recognizable signs from twentieth-century American literature. It is inseparable from our image of Holden, with good factor: it is a symbol of his individuality and uniqueness. The hat is over-the-top, and it reveals that Holden desires to be various from everybody around him. At the exact same time, he is very self-conscious about the hat– he always points out when he is wearing it, and he frequently does not wear it if he is going to be around people he understands. The existence of the hat, therefore, mirrors the central dispute in the book: Holden’s need for isolation versus his requirement for companionship.
It deserves noting that the hat’s color, red, is the very same as that of Allie’s and Phoebe’s hair. Maybe Holden associates it with the innocence and purity he thinks these characters represent and wears it as a method to link to them. He never ever explicitly comments on the hat’s significance other than to discuss its unusual look.
Holden’s curiosity about where the ducks go throughout the winter reveals a real, more youthful side to his character. For the majority of the book, he sounds like an irritated old man who is upset at the world, however his look for the ducks represents the interest of youth and a joyful desire to come across the mysteries of the world. It is an unforgettable minute, due to the fact that Holden clearly does not have such determination in other elements of his life.
The ducks and their pond are symbolic in a number of methods. Their mysterious determination in the face of an unwelcoming environment resonates with Holden’s understanding of his own situation. In addition, the ducks prove that some vanishings are only short-term. Shocked and made acutely familiar with the fragility of life by his sibling Allie’s death, Holden is frightened by the concept of change and disappearance. The ducks disappear every winter season, but they return every spring, therefore symbolizing modification that isn’t long-term, but cyclical. Finally, the pond itself becomes a minor metaphor for the world as Holden sees it, due to the fact that it is “partly frozen and partly not frozen.” The pond is in shift between two states, just as Holden remains in shift in between childhood and adulthood.
Holden, it appears, is in the throes of an existential crisis. To a fantastic degree he is numb to the discomforts and happiness of life. Not able to come to terms with his sibling’s death, he has nobody to reveal him the sort of adult or brotherly love that he himself gave Allie. Whenever somebody does wind up showing him even a tip of such love (such as Mr. Antolini), Holden ends up being disappointed.
Holden may see some romance in suicide and some comfort in the concept that it ends internal pain, however death does seem worse, the supreme isolation. He seen the impacts of death on the living too. He thus can refrain from doing to Phoebe what Allie has actually done to them currently.
He plods on, only sure that he should slowly wean himself far from Phoebe so that she gets used to losing him permanently– and so that he gets utilized to being away from her. Though Holden requires closeness and love in order to restore his life, he keeps driving himself further far from it in order to prevent the inescapable loss. The more he wants to experience life, the more antisocial he becomes and the more he envisions death. This paradox becomes part of Holden’s life: there is pain in shutting down one’s feelings, and there is discomfort in the risk of opening oneself up again. He impossibly attempts to avoid pains that are unavoidable for human mortals while they live.
Authority does not seem related to wisdom, either. Adults tell Holden to find instructions and thus stability, however he sees such advice as both suspicious and naïve; playing such a video game is inauthentic. Going his own way autonomously, as a law unto himself, does not exercise so well either, so it is unclear where Holden might find legitimate authority.