Catcher In The Rye Record Analysis

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In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the main character Holden often has difficulty connecting and being secure enough to pursue deep relationships with others. His lack of confidence and usage of excuses to avoid communicating with the people in his life make him very insecure. However, he often shows what he wishes he could do in the way he treats objects, particularly a “Little Shirley Beans” record he uses as a representation of his relationship with Phoebe. Although the record is described as somewhat whorehouse sounding by Holden and he is often seen wanting to shield Phoebe from adult themes and growing up in general, it is also abundantly clear that it is a proper representation of their relationship, as he also acknowledges …show more content…
“[the store] charged [Holden] five bucks for it, because it was so hard to get, but [he] didn't care.”(129) The record was so important for Holden to get, because he knew it would mean a lot to Phoebe, he does not even care the price. He spends money wildly, but often experiences buyer's regret, and normally makes it sound as if he would prefer not to have spent the money. However, buying it “made [him] so happy all of a sudden”(129), despite the risk of running out of money and not having anything. The joy that he expresses from getting the record is one of the four times in the book he admits to being happy, showing that the thought of Phoebe and doing things for her make him incredibly happy. Holden knows he is running out of money, later on admitting that he “didn't have hardly any money left.” (170) He takes a risk on buying the record for Phoebe, as it could potentially leave him broke, but he does it because doing things for her makes him happy. We see him taking similar risks for Phoebe later on, when he sneaks into his family’s apartment just to see her. He was “afraid [his] parents might hear [him] sneaking in”(173), but he decided he’d try to sneak in any way. Much of the book is dedicated to Holden’s aversion to seeing his parents and family. For Phoebe, he is willing to risk it. The two instances mirror each other in that they carry risks for Holden, but he is willing to do them anyway for Phoebe. The record in this instance is a tangible representation of what Holden is willing to do for Phoebe, and the money is a tangible representation of what Holden is

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