“The Catcher in the Rye”, Other Notes- Holden’s Problems and Motifs

  • Holden feels inadequate compared to others- descriptions of others such as Stradlater and other men
    • Mentions that he misses them at the end
  • Reaction to Mr. Antolini- very extreme- may have been molested? or known someone who was molested deeply
    • Comment on how many times he has been in that situation
    • Head Petting perverted to him
    • Doesn’t go around, doesn’t act in certain ways with women
  • Holden messed up and tries to convince himself that he is not and that everyone else is and not him
  • Holden confused about life, doesn’t want to mature more
    • Wants to figure out life and at the same time does not want to at the same time
  • Holden may feel bad for Sunny- similar age group- may wonder what made her do what she does
    • Doesn’t want to take that step yet
  • Feels conflicted on intercourse- wants to but doesn’t want to at the same time
    • Standard
  • James Castle killed himself and Holden saw, was gruesome
  • Whole book about Holden falling
    • His mental health
    • Grades and amount of money, relationships
    • He’s scared of falling even more – tries to get help from others and on his own but not in a direct fashion- tries to talk to them and show them that he has problems, but no helps him in the way he needs except for Phoebe, tries to act normal and to get why everything is happening
      • Scared to disappoint despite how he acts
      • goes to Mr. Antolini and other teacher, goes to Sally, others also
    • Mr. Antolini mentions he may have a fall from success- needs to get back up
  • Holden nonconformist – doesn’t understand why people act certain ways, thinks his way is the correct way
    • ties into his teen identity- rebellious, trying to figure out the world
    • Doesn’t want to go by adults rules- left Pencey early, wore red hunting hat
  • About Post WW2 angst- lots of casualties and fear from war
    • some had no father or mother figure as they died
    • Holden’s parents barely mentioned
  • Too late for Holden in his opinion- wants to be a hero figure- save others but at the cost of himself- wants to save people before they fall completely, before what happened to him happens to others- suffer for children
  • James Castle the one who put the coat on Castle’s corpse and had experience – warned Holden
  • Holden’s – bipolar, suicidal, depressed, insomnia- has mood swings, he’s all over the place, phobia of growing up

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