In the opening paragraph J. D Salinger provides Holden as having a blunt and aggressive tone which he uses when resolving other characters. As the audience we are surprised at his large bluntness however are quickly to be knowledgeable about the truth that it is all just a front.
Holden instantly dives in by telling the reader that he does not ‘feel like going into’ his ‘poor childhood’ background; nevertheless, he is soon indulging the audience with knowledge about his moms and dads.
The speed in which it takes him to understand his contradiction could merely be an indication that he’s kept his front up too long and it’s completely weakening him as a person.
Holden then sheds some light on his bro’s career as an effective writer. Holden tells the audience that his siblings ‘got a great deal of dough, now’ however how he ‘didn’t use to’. The word ‘use’ in italic typeface suggests that Holden is still overcoming the truth his bro is no longer ‘a regular author’, he now in Holdens’ mind has a kind of supremacy over him, making Holden feel useless.
Holden has shown a range of child like characteristics in his manner of speech and to contribute to that he then refers his bro as ‘being a woman of the street’; to Holden this demeaning word might potentially lower his bros status to something lower, making them appear as equals and therefore making himself feel much better about his lack of success.
Holden at this moment in the book seems to have no psychological connection to anyone, and this could be partly because his parents and bro were successful in what they do, leaving Holden to feel somewhat inferior to them.
As the unique advances Holden drops tips about his time at Pency Prep. Pency Preparation’s slogan ‘given that 1888’ was declaring they ‘have actually been moulding kids into splendid clear -believing boys.’ Once again Holden shows qualities of being somewhat jealous of the truth that he was never ‘moulded’ or just enabled himself to be ‘moulded’. In retaliation to this he uses sarcasm to emphasis the truth that the school does not ‘do any damn more moulding at Pency then they do at any other school and all the young boys most likely pertain to Pency that method’.
As formerly in the book, Holden is once again identifying individuals who are of a “higher status” than him, as the reader I think this shows how he has concerns with accepting individuals who are various and he maybe can’t quite understand them, hence his thinking for utilizing easy idiotic words such as ‘dumb’ and ‘crap’.
We are introduced to Selma Thurmer, and as the audience we know his erratic behaviour and are just shocked at the reality he really ‘liked’ someone.
However, we are soon mindful at the fact that he is drawn to her since she is not ideal- nor does she try to be. Selma is referred to as having ‘a huge nose and her nails’ are ‘all bitten down’, however Holden could simply be seizing an opportunity to pity her as others might have done to him, highlighting his siblings success and his failure at Pency Preparation. Now in theory, it was Holdens chance to be better than someone else, and his possibility to be remarkable.
As the month changes to December in the book, Holden describes the weather being as ‘cold as a witches teat.’ This simile is affective in a non-typical way. The choice of words are strong as they grasp at the large harshness of the cold, yet they have a childish way to them. This also describes Holdens speech. Holden is quickly to notify us that he has ‘no gloves or anything’. He is potentially self-loathing and attempting to draw compassion out of the audience; something which he might be deprived of.
Towards completion of the extract Holden introduced us to the Spencers, as soon as they’re mentioned he begins to compose more about his sensation and less about what physical items exist. The Spencers home seems familiar to him, suggesting that he’s existed more than once in the past. When asking whether Mr Spencer has actually got over the ‘grippe’ he seems really worried, highlighting to the audience that his old ‘history instructor’ is among the only individuals he has a psychological connection with.
In conclusion I think that Holden uses his anger and child-like words as a barrier. He is terrified that someone may attempt to dig deep into his emotional layers and he uses the barrier to stop himself from getting hurt in the future and the present. Nevertheless, his absence of empathy likewise suggests that there might be something psychologically incorrect with him.