Holden Caulfield Identity Analysis

Words: 487
Pages: 2

On July 16, 1951, J.D. Salinger published his novel, The Catcher in the Rye, which tells the story of protagonist Holden Caulfield as he journeys through the ups and downs of his young adult life. Appearing in times of youth protests, the novel spurred even more critical remarks about youth identity, especially regarding Holden’s psychological behavior. In fact, many parallels have been and still are being discovered between the author himself and his character Holden. Salinger lived an eventful life and he inserted much of his aura into his main character. Such can be seen through his interaction with young women, when he writes, “Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, …show more content…
Holden thinks this when he is dancing with Bernice at the Lavender Room nightclub inside the Edmont Hotel. In truth, it applies to all the other girls he has been with. For example, during his date with Sally Hayes, they went ice skating after watching the show, I Know My Love, so that Sally could wear a short little skirt that barely covered her butt. Holden is so moved by this pretty yet shallow sight that a few instances later, he proposes an adventure so unrealistic it would take a huge amount of luck to go through with it. This is just one example of Holden’s controversial “half falling in love with a girl and not knowing where the hell he is” psychological behavior, but throughout the whole novel are similar instances, some more or less extreme than others. Holden embodies the emergence of a youth culture which slowly eschews the dominant paradigm and influences young adults to become both independent thinkers and citizens of society. In a place where young adult drinking, sex, and dancing is becoming more popular, Holden fights for his individuality and independence from the cultural norm of attending school. However, his independent thinking leads to his rash outspoken behavior which spawns from occasional immature impulses of sexual like behavior