The Catcher in the Rye

Catching Feelings 10th Grade

The most fundamental human beliefs are often expressed in unconventional ways, and Holden Caulfield is the embodiment of this aspect of human nature. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is an easy character to relate to because he often struggles with the subconscious inclination to protect himself by hiding his real feelings. Holden’s alienation from his peers is evolved through strategic use of negative language and lies. The inappropriate words so frequent in Holden’s thoughts show his disregard for conforming to social standards. Holden’s evasive nature concerning the truth shows his unwillingness to make connections with his peers on an emotional level.

Language heavily spruced with negativity is a common occurrence in Holden’s thoughts and speech. When Holden is talking to his teacher Mr. Spencer, Mr. Spencer says the word “grand” in a sentence when describing Holden’s parents. Holden immediately notices and remarks, “Grand. There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. I could puke every time I hear it” (Salinger 9). Holden’s extremely adverse reaction to this positive word, especially the fact that he deems it “phony,” shows his rejection of popular attitudes. He is expressing distaste for the...

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