Holden Caulfield's Characteristics

Essay by devilshelper210High School, 10th gradeA+, August 2004

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Holden Caulfield is a character whose actions speak more than his words. In J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Holden is an innocent person who expects the world to be perfect. He knows that there are choices available for every decision he makes, but doesn't have any particular instructions to go with it. He seems to be a very positive person who has just given up trying to make better of him after his Brother Allie's death. This plus his "teenage mood and attitude changes," the society thinks that he's always making the wrong decision and not applying himself enough.

After his brother's death, Holden seems to think that everyone likes him. He's a very sympathetic and kind person. He asked the Ackley kid to go for a movie even though he didn't like him much; and he goes out to meet Mr. Spencer, his teacher at Pencey. He donates a large amount of money to the nuns he meets at the station with the cheap glasses, and even feels sorry for the prostitute he orders when he's in New York.

He finds sex very dirty, and fails to see how it appeals to the adult world so much.

Holden doesn't like people who aren't honest. Those kinds of people are all called "phoneys." He even calls some of his teachers "phoneys"; Mr. Spencer acts phoney in front of the headmaster, and the headmaster acts different in front of the rich parents and Mr. Antolini appears to have weird morals. The nightclubs that Holden drinks at in the book are full of phoneys. One example is Sally Hayes who loves all the phoney movies and restaurants and is a phoney herself. The very famous Lunts and Olivier, Ernie the pianist are praised by everyone except Holden. His brother D.B.