Catcher in the Rye by Salenger

Essay by juliaver March 2004

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Catcher in the Rye Essay

Holden Caulfield's problem is one of communication: as a teenager, he simply cannot get through to the adult world which surrounds him; as a sensitive teenager, he cannot even get through to others of his own age.' Do you agree?

In Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, being a sensitive adolescent, certainly has a communication problem, not only with the adult world, but also with his peers. His problems of communication with others reveals his insecurity which is reflected in his awkward social skills and his feelings of alienation. Despite his loneliness, Holden dreads communication, and this is partly due to his depression over the death of Allie, but also due to the fact that, with the exception of Phoebe, he is unable to find someone as good and loving as Allie was, with whom to communicate. Another reason for Holden's communication problem, is that he suffers the conflict of opposing desires--on the one hand, to grow up and on the other, to stay a child, and live in a world of security and innocence like his sister, Phoebe.

Holden's depression over Allie's death contributes to his communication problems, in that, with the exception of Phoebe, he cannot seem to find the experience of love and goodness in others, that he found with Allie. When he died, Holden explains: "I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalysed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage...with my fist, just for the hell of it." This last statement, 'just for the hell of it' reveals Holden's naivete, as readers would understand that Holden suffered so much because of Allie's death, and this manifested itself in anger and frustration. Holden turns to Phoebe as his sole...