Salinger’s Development Of Holden’s Character In

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The American classic, The Catcher in the Rye, although simply written, had quite sophisticated meanings. Salinger used seemingly inconsequential details of the novel as hidden metaphors to help carry out the theme. The main character and narrator, Holden, has many concealed allegories behind him, when uncovered, create a new and enlightened way of perceiving him and understanding his actions. As the insightful and tragic story comes to an end, the mere details unfold to become primary elements in concluding the theme.

We first meet Holden as he sits on a hill, detached from the rest of the school at a football game. This has a big part to do with the theme throughout the novel: Holden's loneliness and seclusion from the rest of the world. On the hill, Holden sets himself "above the rest" and apart from those he thinks he is better than. The "phoniness" of his peers' lives disgust him and he is avoiding their presence.

In a way, it seems as though "he is 'Holden' back, not allowing himself to become part of the ugliness he sees in virtually everyone." The name "Holden" depicts his incapability to interact with others because of his disgust and low regard for other's lifestyles. Caulfield, Holden's last name, has a lot to do with the theme of childhood innocence throughout the novel. A "caul" is a part of one of the membranes encasing the fetus, which is sometimes around the head when the child is born. It's obviously some sort of protection, quite possibly from the rest of the world. The caul protects children, just as Holden wishes he could do in saving the innocence in society. The last part of Caulfield, "field", has to do with the title's theme (Downey). The catcher in the rye has to do with...

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