Favorite Book, Character or Historical Figure

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Through a filter of depression and self-imposed isolation, Catcher In the Rye's Holden Caufield provides a wry, cynical perspective of coming-of-age in America. Nearly fifty years after the book's initial publication, it still captures the universal sense of fear and rejection we must each overcome to achieve our dreams. Although my personality is nothing like Holden's, I was inspired by his resistance to blindly surrender his individuality. He taught me the importance of expanding my world and setting aggressive goals, regardless of anyone else's opinion.

Many of Holden's psychological problems stemmed from his inability to accept and resolve conflict. Fortunately, I was blessed with an abundance of resources, both financial and emotional, to build a successful life. From an early age, I knew that life was filled with obstacles. Rather than wallow in idealism like Holden, I use my talents and creativity to overcome whatever blocks my way. Armed with a strong personality and sense of determination, I never let anyone restrict my goals or dreams.

One of my earliest goals was to become a championship swimmer. At age nine, I was scheduled to swim in two events, and I needed to place in the top six to be eligible for the championship. When the results of my first race were announced, I discovered that I missed qualifying by just two hundredths of a second. Aware of my disappointment, my teammate tried to comfort me. "Maybe you're just not fast enough this year." I was determined to prove her wrong. Several minutes later, as I prepared for my second event, my heart pounded, my stomach churned, and my mind raced out of control. As I hit the water, I had a single thought. "Prove her wrong." When the results were announced, I discovered that I had exceeded my own...