Through Holdens diverse adventures, the author explores the issues of relationships, individuality and childhood and how challenging it is for some people to comfortably fit into society. It is obvious in Holden unpredictable behavior towards adults that he has a problem establishing solid relationships with other people. There are numerous times in the novel were Holden has striked up conversation with random people merely because he is lonely and has no other relationships with anybody else. Holden feels as if he has to lie to keep his conversations stimulated.
This causes his relationships with other people to be unstable and revolved around a fake person. An example of this is when Holden meets Ernests mother, Mrs. Morrow on the train. Then I really started shooting the old crap around (pg48) Holden does not speak the truth to Mrs. Morrow once in there hole conversation but yet still wants to keep the conversation going on longer. Cmon join me, why dont you? I enjoyed having her (pg 51) This quote symbolizes how the author JD Salinger has identified to the reader that Holden is struggling with his own identity and because of this he is trying to be someone that he is not.
This is causing him to have a great deal of trouble having a solid relationship with other people. Throughout the novel, Holden claims to value individuality and rejects everyone else around him because he believes that they are phony. Holden is constantly putting every one down around him. This particularly evident when Holden is at his former school, Pency. All of Holdens so called friends he has at Pency are seemed to be fake and phony when really Holden is not being his true self.
He also was sort of a nasty guy, I wasnt too crazy about him, to tell you the truth (pg17) these quotes show that Holden is two faced and he rejects anybody with there own personal opinion. JD Salinger has made Holden out to be a hypocrite as he disrespects anybody with there own identity but yet does not have any personal identity at all. Holden is very materialistic and believes money is a way out of any problem. Through Holdens individuality he is trying to find his place in society, whether it is through school at Pency or out in New York
Throughout the novel, Holden always retreats to his childhood as a coping mechanism for what is really happening in the real world. Holden values childhood throughout the novel, as it was the only time in his life was he felt secure. Holdens childhood is the most important theme in the novel as it is the only part were the reader can understand Holden and feel a sense of pity for him. Holden childhood was the only place were he was his true self and with the help of Phoebe, his younger sister in which he admires and is the only person he can be his true self around.
I really wanted to see old Phoebe before I hit the road (pg 184) This quote shows that Holden really cares about Phoebe, as she is the last person he wanted to see. Phoebe is the only thing that reminds him of his childhood and the innocence of it all, which then comforts him. Overall Holden values childhood the most as he can be reminded of the true Holden, not the Holden that is trying to grow up in a materialistic and fake world. Childhood is the only thing that Holden can escape to when he is having trouble fitting in to society.
JD Salinger discusses many different themes during the novel The Catcher in the Rye to bring attention to the reader just how difficult it is for people to grow up in society as a troubled teenager. Holden suffers problems with his relationships, childhood and individuality causing the reader to think universally about these different themes. The Catcher in the Rye is an eye-opening book that brings attention to the reader that adolescents and growing up in the modern society can be very challenging at times in your life.