Holden’s Attitude to Loss – the Catcher in the Rye Essay

The most vivid quote to gain insight into Holden’s view on change and subsequently loss (Byrne, Kalua and Scheepers 2012: 64) is in chapter 16 when Holden shows back on his youth and his routine school sees to the Nature Museum, Holden discovers a fantastic comfort in the static and unvarying displays in the museum and in the connection he discovers in there, “The best thing, though, because museum was that everything constantly stayed right where it was. Nobody ‘d move.

” (SparkNote … 2007).

The very first example of a departure we come across in The Catcher in the Rye is in the form of Holden’s bye-bye to Pencey Preparation in the very first chapter. Holden is on the top of Thomson Hill overlooking the whole school and recollecting all the things he doesn’t like about the school to make the pain of being asked to leave that much easier. Holden states that his coat was taken with his gloves in the pocket and his response to this was “Pencey had plenty of crooks.

Many men originated from these very rich households, but it had lots of scoundrels anyway” (Salinger 1994:3).

It seems that if he declines Pencey it will take the sting out of stopping working and being expelled, Holden makes light of the circumstance “So I got the ax. They give men the ax quite frequently at Pencey.” (Salinger 1994:3) The 2nd example of loss is the death of Holden’s brother Allie and his unchecked reaction to his bro’s unfortunate end. Throughout the unique Holden never discusses his feelings or emotions freely however he alludes to them through his behaviour and the stream of conscious narrative that Salinger uses (Byrne et al 2012:53).

In chapter 5 Holden remembers the night that Allie passed away, “I slept in the garage the night he passed away, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it” (Salinger 1994:34). It is an explicit example of how Holden internalises his feelings without processing them and then acts out with troubling behaviour. Holden goes on to state, “I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it” (Salinger 1994:34). Holden never ever eally accepts that Allie is gone as he speaks to Allie in chapter 14 after Sunny, the prostitute, has actually left his space “I felt so depressed, you can’t imagine. What I did, I began talking, sort of out loud, to Allie.” (Salinger 1994:89) and again in chapter 25 while he is hallucinating that in between the curbs the road vanishes and he falls under a black hole and he speaks with Allie to keep him safe while crossing the road and thanks Allie when he is securely on the other side of the curb (Salinger 1994:178).

In chapter 20 Holden goes over Allie’s death and says of his mom “she still isn’t over my brother Allie yet” (Salinger 1994: 139) which is a fascinating comment from young Holden who in the very same chapter, mentions that his sibling Allie who is buried in the cemetery is “Surrounded by dead guys” (Salinger 1994:140) which indicates that Allie is still alive and is various to the rest of the remains in their tombs (Byrne et al 2012:67). The third and last example of loss is the migration of the ducks from the Central Park Lake.

Holden struggles to accept that the ducks have migrated which this is a momentary disappearance and they will return for the summer months (SparkNote … 2007). In chapter 20 Holden remains in Central Park late in the evening, it is winter and it is really cold we see this through the icicles he has in his hair and Holden is walking around the lake desperately trying to find at least one duck “I walked all around the whole damn lake– I damn near fell in as soon as, in truth– but I didn’t see a single duck” (Salinger 1994:139).

This difficulty to accept the migration of the ducks is probably due to Holden’s failure to adapt to and accept change and loss. We see this again in Chapter 16 Holden states after he thinks back about his school trips to the Nature Museum “Specific things they need to remain the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those huge glass cases and simply leave them alone.” (Salinger 1994:110)

To comprehend Holden’s natural affinity towards constancy and familiarity we require to take a look at his reaction and appreciation of the kettle drummer in the Radio City pre-show before the film, we can see that Holden admires the drummer for his precision and enthusiasm however mostly as he recognises him as a continuous in the Radio City orchestra considering that he was a child and Holden has actually memories attached to viewing his efficiency “I’ve seen that person given that I had to do with 8 years old.

My bro Allie and I, if we were with our parents and all, we used to move our seats and go method down so we might see him. He’s the very best drummer I ever saw.” (Salinger 1994: 124) SOURCES CONSULTED Byrne, D, Kalua, F; Scheepers, R. 2012. Foundations in English Literary Studies. Research study guide for ENG1501. Pretoria: University of South Africa. SparkNote on The Catcher in the Rye. 2007. [O] Offered: http://www. sparknotes. com/lit/catcher/ Accessed on 2013/04/03 Salinger, JD. 1994. The Catcher in the Rye. London: Penguin.

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