Essay on "The Catcher in the Rye"

Essay by rt3378High School, 10th gradeA-, October 2007

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

The ChallengeThroughout The Catcher in the Rye, Holden spends his time trying to grow up. That is why the story is a Bildungsroman. Holden tries to overcome his challenge of chasing women and being friends with hotshots like Stradlater. He has already been kicked out of other boarding schools other than Pencey Prep. Furthermore, he cannot participate in violence due to his injured hand after punching windows after Allie’s death. He must also stop his “fall” (186) as Mr. Antolini says.

Holden tries acts of desperation while with women. At the Edmont, he sees three women. He buys them all drinks and then they leave him. His experience with Sally Hayes is another failure. He offers to run away with her but then she refuses. He loses Sally after calling her a “royal pain in the ass,” (133). These instances help Holden mature because now he is more experienced with women and can handle himself better later in his life.

After Stradlater goes on a date with Jane Gallagher, a girl whom Holden likes, he questions Stradlater whether he had sex. Then, Stradlater pins Holden down, leaving him defenseless. Another time Holden finds trouble with violence is when he did not pay the prostitute enough money. The pimp punches Holden while the prostitute takes the money out of his wallet. This illustrates into the snowball metaphor. He must keep all his anger inside the protective ice of his body: “… packed a snowball with my bare hands. The snow was very good for packing. I didn’t throw it at anything, though” (36). After not throwing it, it further shows his lack of violence. He finally learns not to engage in violence after the second incident.

In conclusion, all these changes and experiences are helpful to Holden, even though some must have been very painful. While looking for Phoebe at the museum, he realizes that “everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move….The only thing that would be different would be you” (121). This further shows The Catcher in the Rye as a Bildungsroman. At the end of the book, Holden recounts all of these experiences. He realizes that he is coming of age. However, by telling all these stories, he starts missing everyone—even if they are hateful towards him.

Source: The Catcher in the Rye