The Catcher in the Rye, a novel written by J.D Salinger, is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield who is troubled and misunderstood. He is critical and skeptical about the world he lives in, and only respects his deceased brother, Allie, and his younger sister, Phoebe, because of their innocence. Phoebe isn't “phony” like everybody else is to Holden, and because of this he truly admires and trusts her with his inner thoughts. In a way, Holden and Phoebe are each other's heroes without even knowing it. Holden yearns to live in a world that is genuine, and it's clear that Holden is fighting a psychological battle within himself, which makes depression and conflict major themes throughout this novel. Salinger's novel is
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Holden and Stradlater get into a physical fight once Stradlater comes home from his date, and Holden leaves the room bloody and goes next door. Holden brought others down by acting superior and calling them names to make himself feel better. His next door roommate, Ackley, got on Holden's nerves, yet Holden still hung out with him occasionally because he felt lonely. Holden describes Ackley as unhygienic, annoying, and pathetic.
Holden is faced with the harsh realities of the world, which is why he wants to protect the “innocence” of others. Margaret Dumais Svogun mentions the importance of Phoebe to Holden; “ she serves him as, among other things, an ideal of innocence and honesty in contrast to the corruption and phoniness of the adult world.” Holden can truly confide and open up to her, “She always listens when you tell her something. And the funny part is she knows, half the time, what the hell you're talking about. She really does."
Many people, especially teenagers, can relate to Holden's troubles, although some do dislike the character of Holden. "His voice reaches (readers) directly and immediately," says John Wenke, a professor of English at Salisbury University in Maryland and author of the 1991 book J.D. Salinger: A Study of the Short Fiction. "He is unique in 20th-century literature."
Joyce Rowe examined Holden's quest for authenticity in Salinger's novel, “In a sense,