October 10, 2014
Holden Caulfield: a Self-Suppressed and Isolated Protagonist
Often, when teenagers are self-conscious, they isolate themselves from their friends. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is the epitome of teenage rebellion and isolation. Holden spends the majority of the book as a suppressed, isolated, and hypocritical individual, resisting change. Holden is not just a rude boy, his rudeness is reasonable. J.D. Salinger intentionally writes Holden as a self-suppressed character making the reader predisposed to hating him right from the beginning.
Suppression means to put an end to something. Holden, in a way, is putting an end to his own being at Pencey. Since being expelled from school, Holden has an identity crisis. He takes his time waiting out the expulsion to be fulfilled and ends up running away early - putting an end to his stay. He travels around New York City trying to come to terms with himself and the phony and fake world around him. When his teacher, Mr. Spencer tries to encourage him to “play the game” of life, Holden says, “Game my ass. Some game . . . what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game” (Salinger, 8). When Holden thinks like this, he is disrespectful and rude even by today’s standards, he curses and is closed-minded. By being so closed-minded, he secures himself into his own little world, bias and all. Holden suppresses himself and puts an end to the outside world - he is angry when anyone from the outside world tries to enter, even when he reluctantly allows them in. Today’s teenagers often curse and close themselves off to the rest of the world. It is a natural way to process a sometimes confusing and overwhelming world. When I was a teen, I found myself wanting to be alone the majority