The Protagonists: Holden Caulfield And Jonas
“I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down . . .”
From then onwards, we start to notice Holden’s habit of contradicting himself. Lying was something he had not trouble admitting. He even told us outright that he was ‘the most terrific liar you ever saw’ (Salinger, pg. 17) only he sometimes ends his sentences with ‘if you want to know the truth’. It gives the readers the impression that he is only looking at things strictly from his point of view.
Holden is sixteen-years-old and has gray hair growing out of one side of his head. He claimed that he has …show more content…
He hates movies because, though not explicitly mentioned, actors act and, therefore, are phonies. He has a gnawing fear of growing up and leaving childhood behind and deludes himself with saving children from falling off from the ‘rye field’ and into the grasps of adulthood. However, he has little to no agency in this matter because his body and society are constantly telling him to change. He is terrified of change, wishing that everything would ‘stayed right where it was’, just like the displays in the Museum of National History.
According to John Green of CrashCourse, Holden begins his sentences with the word ‘listen’ when speaking with someone (because people have a tendency to cut him off), but his inability to ask the right questions or to express his feelings hinders this. In addition to this, he was so repulsed by all the phoniness around him, he wished that he ‘wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversation with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell [him] something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to …show more content…
Salinger mentions some notable literary works in this novel, all with a significant meaning to the story. The title of the novel itself comes from a line from the poem Comin’ Thro’ the Rye by Robert Burns. In chapter sixteen, it was revealed that Holden had thought that it said ‘if a body catch a body, coming through the rye’. Within the context of the poem, ‘meet’ meant ‘sex’, but Holden replaces it with ‘catch’ as he did not want the children to be exposed to the adult world. The ‘field’ refers to the rye field on which the innocent children play on, the place where he gets to be their hero should they ever fall off. His dream was first shown to be shattered when he feels distressed by the profanity he sees on the walls of Phoebe’s school because he does not want any children to worry about its meaning (ironic, taking into consideration the foul language he constantly uses), in which he then comes to the realization that ‘even if you had a million years to do it, you could not rub out even half the "fuck you" signs in the