How to Read Literature Like a Professor

what relevations does holden experience

The catcher in the rye

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Here are two really good ones,

Revelation #1: "You're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior." (p. 189) Throughout so much of this novel I believe that Holden is surprised and trying to pretend he's not. He doesn't want people to realize how naïve he is about the world, but he can't contain his own surprise at other times. He's caught in the dangerous riptide between childhood and the adult world, youth. He's not quite jaded enough to mask his surprise, but not still young enough to revel in it. I believe this throughout the course of this novel he comes to realize his place in the adult world, more so than when he leaves Pencey.

Revelation #2: "The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them."(p.211) Now, this is totally opposite to what Holden says when he's talking to Phoebe about the poem. Then he talks about how these little kids "they're running and they don't look where they're going" and how he wants to be the one who has "to come out from somewhere and save them. Holden is getting the concept of being their for other people. Perhaps his sister helps him discover this but it's a first important step.


An impoertant revelation comes in Chapter 5/6. Holden actually sincerely opens up. Holden writes the composition for Stradlater, divulging that his brother Allie died of leukemia several years before. Holden idealizes Allie, praising his intelligence and sensitivity—the poem--covered baseball glove is a perfect emblem for both—but remaining silent about his emotional reaction to Allie’s death. For Holden, this would have been a cathartic experience.