Catcher In The Rye Research Paper

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The Vulnerable Cynic: A Comparison between The Elegance of the Hedgehog and The Catcher in the Rye Societies, past and current, highly value money, sex, and status. More and more people, consequently, have started to think that happiness can only be achieved with these things. Some people, however, think the opposite. These individuals, at one point in their lives, may form a pessimistic outlook on life, wondering how their society has become so corrupt. Their negative views of society may then lead them to perceive everyone around them as flawed. An entirely possible outcome from this negativity is mental instability. Thus, individuals who develop negative attitudes about the world are more prone to mental disorders like depression, preventing…show more content…
Holden constantly feels that he is “surrounded by phonies” (Salinger 8) at his school. His distaste for his school is depicted through his description of Ackley and Stradlater, two people who represent the scorn he holds for society. Holden describes Ackley as “sort of a nasty guy” (19) who “not only had [a lot of pimples but] had a terrible personality” (19). Holden disdains Stradlater just as much as Ackley. Although he “always looked good…he was a secret slob anyway” (27). Holden’s censures of Ackley and Stradlater reveal his disgust with his peers and their efforts to corrupt themselves. Holden neither wants to associate with a “nasty guy” like Ackley nor a “secret slob” like Stradlater. Although Holden focuses on his peers’ physical aspects in his criticisms and Paloma focuses on her peers’ actions, both characters find faults in their peers, despising their peers’ pursuits of adulthood. Consequently, these negative perceptions lead to Holden’s feelings of sadness and disconnection from society. After he hears of Stradlater dating Jane, his childhood friend, Holden “damn near dropped dead” (31). Despite Holden’s desire for interaction with Jane, his close friend, he is sickened by the materialistic views of his peers. He even feels “sort of sorry for [Stradlater]” (13). This sadness is a known sign of depression. Because of this sadness, he isolates himself from his schoolmates’ social lives. In an attempt to escape from the bitter reality of life, he looks outside for comfort but only sees that “It was even depressing out in the street. You couldn't even hear any cars anymore. [he] got feeling so lonesome and rotten” (27). Holden recurrently feels sad because he constantly holds negative views of his peers. His pessimism is a major contributor to his depression. According to psychologist Martin Saligman,

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