Is Holden Caulfield A Hero Essay

Holden Caulfield As A Hero Essay

Holden as a Hero

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a story about the trials of life and the toll it can take on the psyche. I believe that Holden Caulfield is an under credited hero. He is a teenager forced to grow up in a time of turmoil with severe emotional handicaps placed upon him by family, friends and life in general.
     Holden is one confused kid trying to beat the Man in the 1950’s. He grew up ignored by his parents, drifting from school to school in search of a purer lifestyle. On page one Holden humbly describes his lousy growing up. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you will probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like…but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth…that stuff bores me.” Holden does not want to go into his childhood and play the victim. He tells us that he had a rough time and leaves it at that. Later in the book he alludes to how his parents just shuffled him from school to school hoping that he would do better at the next one. All he tells us about is his dad is that he is a big shot corporate lawyer, not much about what kind of father he was. Suggesting that he was gone a lot and not around to give a good role model for Holden. In turn it shows up in Holden’s attitude towards adults.
     Throughout the book Holden shows his resentment towards the Man. He always refers to how phony the authority figures are. Multiple times he talks about his old headmasters who were very phony. They would only talk to the parents who had money and influence. They would ignore those who struggled to get their kids into the school and did not wear the finest clothes. He...

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Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden - The Misfit Hero

2101 Words9 Pages

The Misfit Hero of The Catcher In The Rye

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger was published in 1951. "A recurring theme in J.D. Salinger's stories concerns people who don't fit in with the traditional American Culture. Salinger's 'misfit heroes', unlike the rest of society, are caught in the struggle between a superficial world and a conscious morality" (1 Wildermuth). In his attempt to create a new and realistic portrayal of the times, Salinger first, effectively creates Holden Caulfield, the main character. Second, he sends his character on a quest, and third he titles his novel to sum up the whole overview of the story.

In creating his character, Holden Caulfield, Salinger uses profanities and obscenities as an…show more content…

It is also a Quest. Holden seeks for a new home where he can become "involved in people and life without the inevitable pain and disillusionment that seems to come with involvement" (9 Kaplan). However, Holden seeks for this new home in the world beyond the limits of his adolescent experience. The dangers that he encounters are therefore "metaphorical dangers created out of the contemporary mass culture-the loss of individuality, of accepted values, of intellectual autonomy" (9 Kaplan). Holden is a "mid-twentieth century innocent, especially in orientation to the code of the practical world of material achievement and success" 23 Kaplan).

Holden is also seeking a tremendous thing which the reader eventually finds out is love. He in effect is also a hero. The virtues of American Heroes are usually personal ones. Most often, the hero is in conflict with their home, family, or church. The typical American Hero must also flee these institutions, for only by flight can the hero find knowledge of what is real. Yet, if the hero does not flee, at least he defies. Holden seems to be one of these heroes, but with a slight difference. He needs to go home and he needs to leave it. "Holden seeks Virtue second to Love" unlike many others who have quested for virtue and then love (17 Marsden). Holden

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