To What Extent Does Salinger Make You Sympathize With Holden Caulfield

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To What Extent Does Salinger Make You Sympathize With Holden Caulfield

The Catcher In The Rye By J.D.Salinger

J.D Salinger has made the main character and narrator, Holden
Caulfield, very complex. He has many good qualities that help the reader to sympathize with him. However throughout the novel the reader comes to realize that Holden’s behaviour around other characters often contradicts the opinions he has expressed to t he reader. This makes us see that, at times, Holden is no better than the characters he dislikes. It makes him seem “phoney.” However his use of colloquial language helps the reader to realize that Holden is still quite young and has a childish and immature view of life.

You can see how immature he is
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This could also be interpreted as Holden simply being kind and not wanting to hurt Ackley’s feelings.

He also does childish things just to get on people’s nerves and he knows that what he is doing is childish

“Besides I did it to annoy Stradlater. It drove him crazy when you broke any rules. He never smoked in the dorm. It was only me.”

But he still criticizes other people when they do similar things,

“His name was Commander Blop or something. He was one of those guys that think they’re being a pansy if they don’t break around forty of your fingers when they shake hands with you. God, I hate that stuff.”

This is another example of him being a “phoney.” Even though he admits his flaws he still criticizes others faults in private but is deceptive by being polite to them to their face. He lies to the mother on the train about how sensitive and caring her son is. Yet Holden admits to the reader, "That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a toilet seat." Morrow’s mother is given an impression of him that is conflicting to everything Holden really believes. Holden is more than willing to forfeit the truth in exchange for the innocence he tries so hard to preserve. Holden, who sees himself as the catcher in the rye,

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