The Influence of Women in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

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In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield feels a compulsion to protect women over anything else. The reason for this is that Holden views women as the last innocent people left in society. J.D. Salinger makes it a point to display the powerful influences that women have had on Holden throughout his life by retelling Holden's experiences with his own mother as a younger man. These trends continue throughout the story, as the events that unfold involving Phoebe and Jane Gallagher become focal points during Holden's time in New York City. Holden's desire to protect women seems to go so far that he begins to feel immediate hostility -- hostility that may or may not be justified -- towards several male characters. Holden's nervous impulse …show more content…
He was moved from prep school to prep school in what must have felt like an attempt by his parents to keep him away from their home. Holden was affected very deeply by his mother specifically despite the fact that he talks about both of his parents with equal disdain. Even with all of his talk about his father's job, most of Holden's nervous ticks and character traits seem to come from his mother. For instance, Holden mentions "phonies" forty-four separate times throughout the novel (Corbett 68-73). This can be connected to his mother by the way he speaks about her. Her speech always seems to very insincere, and Holden displays that she has very little compassion for her own children. If his mother's actions were powerful enough to influence his obsession with liars, she could also have very easily made him extremely cautious and considerate of women. This is especially true when his regret over Allie is accounted for, and that his mother made him feel worse about it. From that point on, it seems that Holden has always tried to prove himself as a good person to the women around him. Phoebe and Jane also allow Holden to showcase his defensive side throughout the story. He feels so strongly about these two characters that it becomes arguable that Holden has no concern for preserving the innocence of children, but rather preserving the

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