“The Catcher In The Rye”
In the novel The Catcher In The Rye we read about a sixteen year old boy named
Holden Caulfield. The story starts off telling us about how he gets kicked out of a preppy
High School and uses his parents money to move to New York. Throughout the story we
see Holden expressing different types of personality: The one he shows the world, which I
believe is that he is an intelligent young man that doesn’t try, who he thinks he is, which
is a depressed person who is looking for companionship, and who he really is, a sacred
kid who who doesn’t know what he wants out of life.
Holden went to Pencey Prep., which is a High School in Agerstown Pennsylvania.
He was thrown out of the school because he was failing almost all his classes except for
English. Holden has the ability to pass his classes and even with good grades but he
doesn’t apply himself. This is what Holden shows the world, he is capable of passing and
is intelligent but doesn’t try. “They gave me frequent warning to start applying
myself-especially around midterms,…but I didn’t do it.” (Salinger 4) Also as Holden talks
throughout the story we can tell that he is very intelligent because of the way he describes
everything, even though his grammar isn’t so well.
Underneath Holden’s act of being this kid who just doesn’t try I think inside he
thinks he is depressed and doesn’t care about anything. He gets kicked out of High School
and doesn’t try to go to another one, instead he goes to New York looking for sex and
traveling form bar to bar for people to talk to. He winds up talking with people he really
doesn’t like because he is just looking for companionship, like the three girls he met in
the bar and the taxi cab driver who he talks to about what happens to the fish in the lake
when it freezes. He even hires a prostitute to have sex but winds just talking to her about
nothing because essentially he wants to a friend. He says to the prostitute “Don’t you feel
like talking for a while” (Salinger 95)
In my opinion, Holden is really scared of life. He doesn’t know what he wants out
of it and he is afraid that if he tries to get what he wants he will screw it up. For example
Holden asks old Sally to run away with him and settle down in Vermont or Mass. but he
really is in love with Jane Gallagher. “Jane Gallagher. Jesus. I couldn’t get her out of my
mind. I really couldn’t.” (Salinger 32) I think that the reason he doesn’t express himself to
her is because if she doesn’t feel the same way about him he will be devastated. Therefore
he is afraid of his life and what might become of it.
As you can see Holden does have three levels of personality, as does any person. I
myself can analyze my own life and break down my personality. I show the world that I
am both tough and smart and I believe that I am tough and smart, but in reality, though I
may be smart, I am far from tough.
To my parents, teachers, and adult figures I show them that I am a smart and
respectful young man. My grades and ability to argue my opinion show that I am
intelligent and my manors show my respect to those who deserve it. Now to my friends
and peers I show that I am tough because I myself need to be respected by my peers and
unfortunately I can’t get that from smarts. I can’t show weakness to anyone because than I
will get walked all over, so if people think I can fight and that I am tough, than I won’t
have to fight.
Now to myself I know that I am clever in my own way and likewise my grades
show that I am. True this may sound conceded but I am smart and I know it. Also I like to
think to myself that I am tough and I believe that I can beat the crap out of anyone who
challenges me. Also I like to believe that I have no enemies and that I will never have to
worry about getting into a fight.
But lets face it in all reality I do have enemies and I am not tough and I know I am
not tough. For cristssake my ex-girlfriend could beat me up. So when the day comes that
someone challenges my toughness is the day when I get my ass kicked. Also in reality I
don’t show respect to those who deserve it, in fact most of the time I disrespect those who
really deserve it.
In all honesty I do contradict myself here. I say that I think I am tough and show
that I am but I know that I am not. This doesn’t make any sense. But let me try to explain,
the reason that I can think I am tough even though I know I am not is because I have to
show it and If I don’t believe myself than how will other people believe that I an tough.
When I look at this as a whole it makes me sound pretty pathetic. It makes me sound like
I am constantly lying to myself and others. But than again I have to, if I don’t lie to
myself and I choose to be truthful and be myself, I will be miserable. With the ability to
lie to myself I can make my life more pleasurable. If I think I am a good person, that to
myself I am a good person, when in reality I am a treble person.
I have to say this self analysis has really opened my eyes to see what kind of
person I actually am, and I don’t like it. So let me just fall into my mentality of lying to
myself and simply say that I really do like myself and my life and because I think this that
I do like myself and my life. But in reality I don’t.