Catcher In The Rye Alienation Analysis

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Alienation’s Apparent Aspects
Society. People. This is whom we live with, how we interact with one another, and most importantly, it defines the person we are. We live in a world full of good and bad people, but something about seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield, whether his discontent in society or not, causes him to see impostors, or so-called “phonies,” everywhere he goes. He hates these phonies because they are constantly telling him to grow up. So, therefore, in J.D. Salinger 's The Catcher in the Rye, Holden uses alienation to elucidate his character and his interactions with society -- mostly through hatred, deceit, profanity, and sexuality -- as they have benefited and hurt him both ways. From not applying himself to school to thinking
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Ackley was that type of person who “hardly ever went anywhere” and “hated everybody’s guts” (Salinger 26). Stradlater forced Holden to write an English composition, which later he did not like, and beat him up. Holden didn’t like Ackley nor Stradlater, so he only talked to them if he had to. Along with slowly diminishing friendships, phonies, to Holden, is his excuse to retreat from society and be detached; he thinks everything with phony people is wrong and he’s always “surrounded by phonies” (Salinger 19). To sum it up, he attempts to be in places where he feels that he doesn’t belong, in order to protect himself from society. However, all along, it is ironic that he pushes society away, yet he continues to embrace those he cares about. Many symbols like his red hunting hat, the museum, and the ducks have erased his alienation and caused him to be more open to society. Holden’s red hunting hat symbolizes idiosyncrasy and distinctiveness. With this hat, he longs to be different from the people around him, especially when he is around people he doesn’t know. It also represents isolation versus companionship because he searches for isolation while wearing the hat, yet when he’s around his friends and teachers, he has companions and doesn’t wear the hat. Another symbol against alienation are the displays at the museum of natural history that were “exactly the same” when …show more content…
Back then, people did not publicly discuss their personal problems and talked to no one about them. Even Holden didn’t “ever tell anybody anything,” including his depressed and lonesome feelings (Salinger 277). He would mistrust grownups and experiment through other paths to understand the adult world he is entering. Today, however, there is awareness about these mental issues and problems -- people can go to counselors, doctors, psychiatrists, support groups, etc. and talk to them in order to figure out a solution. That way, Holden’s mental disorder and depressed state-of-mind can slowly disappear and create a whole new joyful person. With a current society today, Holden would also feel a better connection with people. This means, instead of interacting with dead objects like the museum displays that were “so nice and peaceful,” he is able to relate to other people of his age (Salinger 264). From his time period until today, not much has changed about teenagers, even though times have changed -- teens still want to be celebrities, get piercings and tattoos, do drugs, believe that guys should ask out girls, have mental problems and disabilities, etc. He is able to communicate with people that are common to him, and lessen his alienation from

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