The Catcher In The Rye

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Somewhere in one's life one must face one's own deepest fears of growing up and is successfully starting one's hero's quest. Holden Caufield, the protagonist in J.D Salinger's . The Catcher In the Rye, is often referred to as a quintessential loner. A teenager filled with fear, a young man constantly getting kicked out of prep schools, Holden is fighting and avoiding his peers by distancing himself from them and the rest of the world. He is a lonely soul that seeks advice and confidence from his one true friend Allie, his dead brother.. While Holden may at first glance seem to be a loner who has been defeated, by life, upon closer inspection one can see he really is a hero who has begun to face his deepest fears of growing up and has successfully started hid hero's quest.

Holden is known to be a loner throughout his years at Pencey, a well known private school for boys.

Another school in which Holden did not managed to stay in by taking the easy way out, and flunking out of every school he has been to. During his years at Pencey Holden avoided to associate with his peers. Always believed that his peers were all phonies.

I was standing way the hell upon top of Thomsen hill, right next to this crazy cannon that was in the revolutionary war and all. . . but you could hear them all . . . but you could hear them all yelling, deep and terrific on the Pencey side, because practically the whole school except me was there.. .(2) Holden has always hated being around phonies. Phonies: everybody that was not a kid and himself, but was always contradicting himself. As a result of ostracizing himself from the rest of the world, he is in a mental hospital at the present time. Holden Never takes the time to meet the people around him. Holden always believed in not interacting with his peers. As a result, Holden excludes himself from the rest of the world, therefore he decides to leave Pencey. " sleep tight, ya morons!...I'll bet I woke up every bastard on the whole floor. Then I got the hell out," (52). Nevertheless, Holden finally leaves and decides not to look back. Therefore starting his hero's journey on his way to success: his hero's quest.

Holden, a teenager who is afraid of growing up, is a desperate soul who fears the fact of growing up and dying. As a result of his actions Holden is not living up to his potential in life as an adult. Allie, who looked up to Holden and always understood his problems. Allie, a true friend for Holden but facing and dealing with his death was the hardest incident Holden had to go through. Therefore Holden had to let go of Allie, and recognize that he was no longer with him, but laying somewhere out in a commentary. " when it started to rain it's awful. . .it rains on the tombstone, it rained on the grass on his stomach.(158). It was an impossible at first to let go of Allie's death but it became possible to finally let go of Allie. Holden went on still blinded by the fact that growing up and dying is part of the circle of life. Ever since the beginning, Holden has been afraid of dying and lying somewhere in a cemetery to be forgotten.

Then I thought of them sticking me in a god dam cemetery and all, with my name on this tomb stone and all. Surrounded by dead guys. . .I hope to hell when I die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river. . " (157).

Holden believes that in the cemetery there is no protection of any kind for him. He believes that everybody will soon forget him and will stop visiting him at the grave. In his mind, Holden believes that nobody cares for him not even his parents. But his parents do really care for him. They try so hard to be good parents, especially his mother. For instance Holden's mother tries so hard to get Holden what he wants but ends up getting him the wrong skates. " I could of seem my mother going in Spaulding's and asking the sales man a million dopey questions. . .she bought me the wrong kind of skates," (52). However, Holden does believe in staying young and innocent. Therefore, he believes that he is the catcher of innocence and believes in keeping kid's innocence within them. Holden does not realize that kids grow up just like any other human, but they grow so fast he can not believe it and realizes that no matter what he accomplishes kid's will soon lose their innocence.

Holden does come along way since he left Pencey. Visiting the school and the Museum in New York changed everything for him. Seeing things he never imagined he would see in his life. " Fuck you . .was written with a red crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stone," (204). As a result, of seeing the F**K you written all over the museum, Holden realizes that who ever wrote it were kids. Holden was in denial because he did not want to believe a kid of innocence wrote such a thing. Therefore, Holden realizes that kid's are not as innocent as they appear to be.

All the kids kept trying to grab for the golden ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she'd fall of the god dam horse, but I didn't say anything. The things with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden 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.(211) Holden finally realizes that he is no longer a kid and here he is acting like the adult he is. Letting kids run off the cliff if they wish too. Holden is no longer playing the role of the catcher. Kids are kids; they like to run around, play, and if they fall they can always get back up and continue playing.

This young, remarkable man has come a long way since he left Pencey. Being in a mental hospital and facing his fears was the greatest and most important task he had to overcome. The fact of just going home and facing his parents makes him a hero. The fact that he was a loser at the beginning and making a break through does not mean he is still one. He is a hero in our eyes. In life everyone must embark on their own hero's quest. You just never know when your time will come.