Holden Caulfield Gender Roles
The Cather in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is known for its themes of teen angst, alienation and more importantly its views against feminism. Holden’s views of women in general are not pleasant all of which is due to the fact that there are only there are three types of women throughout the world of Holden Caulfield: Role models who break away from stereotypical roles such as Phoebe, the weak who have the potential to become role models like Jane Gallagher and women whom of which’s actions are the embodiment of gender stereotypes women like these would be the three women at the bar, Sunny and Sally Hayes. There are only a handful of women in the novel who act as respectable female role models; …show more content…
More than anyone is Phoebe; the young woman is portrayed as being overemotional and unintelligent by society. However, she is quite the opposite of this. Phoebe is a very strong, smart, and confident young woman who redefines stereotypes by being a role model to Holden. Throughout phoebe’s entire life Holden had admired her. Even though they are siblings, it is quite remarkable the impact she has had on him. His respect for her is what breaks down the construct of men being the superior to women. Holden sees phoebe as an equal; regardless of the large gap in age between them. Furthermore, phoebe breaks down the construct that women are less intelligent than men. This is clearly expressed when phoebe is mad with Holden for getting kicked out of school again, any other woman in the book would have leveled with Holden; sympathizing with him. Phoebe on the other hand can appreciate the situation that Holden is in and give him the feedback he deserves, rather than the feedback that he wants to hear. Jane Gallagher apart from phoebe is the only female that he has shown admiration to; his thoughts about her display her as a dependable individual who he can trust. Allie’s baseball mitt is a symbol of trust between Holden and Jane. The mitt is all Holden has left of his little brother, and just the fact he showed it to Jane exemplifies the trust Holden had in her. Furthermore, Holden speaks highly of her throughout the novel, not only demonstrating his respect for her as a person, but also the fact that she is capable of being trusted by other men as well. This builds upon the fact that Jane breaks down common misconceptions about women and is a strong female role model throughout the text. Even though she never appears.
Based on Holden’s comments throughout the novel on the actions of the women around him, it seems as though the girls use their “cuteness” to be successful instead of working to