Holden's Behavior In Catcher In The Rye

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The Savior from the Fall A fallen state of grace is ever-present. This missing innocence permanently taints the conscious, resulting in mistakes that continuously push away from the pinnacle of happiness that purity gives. In J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, narrator Holden Caulfield feels he is called to change this omnipresent stain, and wants to prevent future generations from this fall, which is a core value Don Bosco Technical Institute’s Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLRs). He declares his goal to be the catcher in the rye, one who prevents the young children from falling off a cliff when playing in the rye. Holden’s self-proclaimed deceitful nature, reckless behavior, and desire to save the young portray ineffective …show more content…
Holden repeatedly tells us versions of the phrase, “I swear to God I’m a madman” (Salinger 149). The particular diction of swearing reinforces that he is both irresponsible and immature. The repetition of phrases similar to this foreshadows his illness in the future. It can also be inferred that Holden requires special treatment when at the end of the novel, he reveals that people ask where he is going to go to school, and Holden mentions “especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have here” (Salinger 234). Holden’s requirement of a psychoanalyst is dramatically ironic, since throughout the book Holden shows signs of mental illness and irresponsibility, yet is surprised by learning he needs a psychoanalyst. The internal conflict within Holden’s mind is a struggle between succumbing to his fall from innocence or changing by saving the youth, which shows he has been unable to maintain a psychological well-being. Even though Holden is presented as a mentally challenged, untrustworthy person who seems unfit for the role of the catcher in the rye, with a task to prevent children from losing their innocence and becoming like Holden, he still has the desire, passion, and will to take up that role as the savior from the …show more content…
Holden remembers his take on a song, telling his kid sister Phoebe, “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye” (Salinger 191). Holden recalls this maxim and makes it his motivation to save the young from the fall, which is representative of his Salesian Spirit and practices of Christianity, despite not being Catholic, which is greater appreciation of the faith than many people who are Catholic. His calling to be catcher in the rye is symbolic of being a savior, such as Jesus’ calling to be a savior for all, which shows his relation to Christianity. Holden also address his reasoning for wanting to be the catcher in the rye, as the children run around in the rye and do not look where they are going, they might fall off a cliff, to which Holden states, “I have to come out from somewhere and save them” (Salinger 191). This is an epiphany for Holden, where he realizes his purpose in life, allowing him to gain and understanding Don Bosco’s ideals and faith. Holden wants to act as the archetypal Hero, wanting to fulfill the task of preventing children from physically falling, and from falling spiritually from their state of innocence, which shows his dedication to the youth and desire to serve others. Overall, even though in his heart he has a passion to save others, Holden’s actions and

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