Holden Caufield Criticism

Essay by Smigy9High School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

download word file, 5 pages 4.0

Joe Olwig

English III

Criticism Paper

"Longing for emotional support, Holden perversely trusts almost no one. He views his world, not incorrectly, as being full of "phonies"; often, he fantasizes about a solitary life as a self-sufficient deaf-mute." Holden Caulfield is quite the extraordinary character. Though Holden narrates in a cynical and jaded voice, he is actually very intelligent and carries sensitivity unlike most teenage boys. He finds the hypocrisy and spitefulness of the world around him almost intolerable, and through his sarcasm he tries to protect himself from the pain and frustration of the adult world. His trust for people minimizes as his life goes on until he finally feels obligated to keep nearly everything personal to himself.

Holden's past life experiences may just be the reason for Holden's distrust in so many people. In Holden I see a troubled and unreliable character that seems to believe that whatever he thinks is true, in fact is always the truth.

Holden has failed out of four schools; he manifests complete lack of concern toward his future; he is hospitalized where he is visited by a psychoanalyst; and he is unable to connect anyone at all. I do believe, though, that the main reason for his emotional state of mind being vulnerable is due to the death of his brother and the suicide of a classmate committed in school. Holden has been deeply affected by these tragedies and has yet to recover emotionally from them. Holden is hurt and confused because of these happenings and therefore finds it hard to confide in anyone he knows. He feels betrayed because of these losses in his life, and as a result feels that most people in the world are fake or as Caulfield puts it "phonies".

Holden expresses himself to people in many...