Holden Caulfield Character Analysis

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In present day, teenagers are often rendered as depressed, insane, and vacuous. They are the targets of cruel jokes in literary magazines, advertisements, and Saturday Night Live. However, many tend to forget that the adolescents of today are the future of tomorrow. The teenagers of a much-earlier era, the 1950s, were regarded in a similar fashion, evident through Holden Caulfield, a character in J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden’s unabating depression is caused by his borderline personality disorder, demonstrating Salinger’s purpose to proselytize for better understanding of adolescents in a society where adolescents are often misunderstood and ignored. Holden’s depression is caused by his borderline personality disorder,…show more content…
However, Holden treasures his intimate relationship with Phoebe so much that he “gave... it [the red hunting hat] to her” (Salinger 180), one of his most prized possessions. Salinger uses the complex human concept of judgement so readers can identify with Holden, and thus perceive adolescents in a better light. Furthermore, Holden’s depression is a result of his brother’s death, primarily due to his borderline personality disorder. By nature, humans are expected to grieve for the death of their loved ones, but not as much as Holden grieves for Allie, certainly not for three years. Holden’s excessive grief is clearly indicated through his peculiarity of “started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie” (Salinger 98) and the prolonged amount of time, three years, since Allie’s death. His sorrow prevents him from forming new friendships because he is preoccupied with thoughts of Allie, the past, to be concerned with the present. For instance, when “something very spooky started happening” (Salinger 197) to Holden, he refrains from telling anyone, and chooses to “make believe I was talking to my brother Allie” (Salinger 198) instead. By exaggerating Holden’s grief for his loved one, Allie, Salinger induces readers to feel sympathetic for adolescents, since readers can easily relate to the loss of a loved

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