Influence of Buddhism in the Catcher in the Rye Essay

J.D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye, saw the atrocities of the 2nd World War firsthand as a soldier. In doing so, the horrors that he saw offered him concerns about his society. The fact that his native society could do such things repelled him. As an outcome, he started to check out Eastern Viewpoint after the war. The eastern concepts he found out about were appealing to him, so he decided to model Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye, after Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as The Buddha.

Siddhartha was a Prince whose father concealed from him the atrocities of mankind, but when Siddhartha ultimately did see poverty, he was dejected.

He decided to become an ascetic, a lifestyle where one supplies himself with minimal products. Eventually Siddhartha achieved enlightenment, and he produced the concepts of Buddhism. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is born into a wealthy household and attends a prestigious boarding school, although he is tossed out early in the book.

Salinger makes Holden’s life extremely comparable to that of Siddhartha Gautama’s. Holden’s story mirrors that of the Buddha’s due to the fact that poverty and illness call them into action, they are displeased by the concept that individuals are not created similarly, and they both divert of the course that has actually been set out for them.

Holden and Siddhartha encounter the unpleasant things in life for the very first time in extremely different methods. Siddhartha is twenty-nine years old when he initially sees an old man, after being protected for the early portion of his life, while Holden is simply thirteen years of ages when his younger bro, Allie, grows ill and dies. When Siddhartha encounters hardship, it motivates him to dedicate the rest of his life to attempting to end suffering. On the night that Allie died, Holden slept in the garage and, “… broke all of the goddam windows with my fist” (Salinger 39). Holden is irate since he couldn’t save Allie from death, the very same method Siddhartha was displeased by the truth that he could not save people either, the people that he was supposed to rule over one day, from poverty and suffering.

In addition, Holden, like the Buddha, delights in assisting those in requirement. When Holden sees two nuns in Grand Central Station, he strikes up a conversation, and then gives them 10 dollars as a donation. That amount of money is equivalent to around ninety-five dollars today. In the future, he states, “I started getting sorry that I ‘d only given them 10 bucks for their collection”(Salinger 113). Instead of moring than happy in giving his donation, he is dissatisfied because he understands that what he has actually provided is still not nearly sufficient to make a considerable dent in the poverty of the world. However, Holden still aims to protect those who can not secure themselves from the unfavorable aspects of life, just as the Buddha endeavors to conserve mankind for suffering.

Among the lessons that Siddhartha Gautama taught to his Buddhist followers was to reject the traditional class system. The Hindu individuals of India follow the belief of reincarnation, which individuals are born into their social class based upon how well they lived their previous lives, and hence those who are born into a low class are worthy of to be there. However, Buddha turned down that class system, choosing a society without classes, due to the fact that he believed that all guys need to be treated as equals. Holden also believes that all guys are created equal. In his conversation with his history instructor, Mr. Spencer, Holden says to himself in response to Mr. Spencer’s remark that life is a video game that, “If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, … but if you get on the opposite … then what’s a game about it” (Salinger 8).

Holden does not believe that life needs to be better for some people than others even if they were born wealthy or have remarkable qualities and abilities than others. He thinks that no matter what somebody’s social status is, he or she ought to be entitled to the exact same things as a rich person. When he sees the nuns in Grand Central Station, he is depressed when he sees what they are consuming. He says “I dislike it if I’m eating bacon and eggs or something and someone else is only eating toast and coffee” (Salinger 110). Holden is from a wealthy family, and is distressed by the truth that not everyone can experience the exact same high-ends that he can. The Buddha was also saddened by the same thing; he could not provide his individuals with the same facilities that are given to him. Because of that both Holden and Siddhartha desire to find a much better method to organize society than the conventional class system.

Holden might quickly choose to apply himself in school, go to college and get a well-paying job. However, the concept of following the course that society has actually set out for him disappoints Holden, and he desires to create a brand-new path for himself. Near completion of the book, Holden visualizes himself hitchhiking out west and living in a cabin for the rest of his life. He exclaims, “I got thrilled as hell thinking about it” (Salinger 199). He falls in love with the idea of himself rebelling versus society; the society that was the reason for a lot poverty.

Similarly, Siddhartha Gautama, a prince, picked not to live his life as royalty, which was expected of him, however rather end up being an ascetic, rejecting himself of worldly pleasures, as he made every effort to find a way to end suffering. Siddhartha discovered success, and he accomplished knowledge, along with a method to end suffering, which is what Buddhism is. On the other hand, Holden found it to be difficult to break away from his course that is set prior to him. In response to Holden’s concept to flee, Sally, a friend of Holden, retorts, “You can’t just do something like that” (Salinger 132). Holden struggles to relate with fellow members of his society, and when they overrule his concepts, he discovers it to be even more difficult to connect with them.

Holden’s journey resembles the Buddha’s in 3 substantial ways: he is motivated to end suffering, he thinks that everyone should have the exact same chances in life, and he is identified to separate himself from his culture. But perhaps J.D. Salinger did not mirror Holden’s life after the Buddha’s, however after his own. Salinger also saw excellent suffering when he participated in World War 2. He refuted the values of Western Civilization, questioning how such terrific atrocities might be dedicated in it. Holden’s clash with his native land bears striking resemblance to that of Salinger’s. Salinger expresses his beliefs through Holden in the book.

Holden says, “I do not think I might stand it if I needed to go to war. I truly couldn’t.” Salinger might not stand remaining in the war, just as Holden can not stand the idea of being in it. Eastern viewpoint influenced Salinger considerably after he served in the war, and in turn The Catcher in the Rye is influenced by that viewpoint. Salinger discreetly teaches his readers about Eastern viewpoint as they follow Holden’s journey. Salinger tries to push the reader into their own journey, in which he or she may battle between Western and Eastern idea in a comparable way as he did.

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