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The Catcher in the Rye

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Holden's Journey

As we pass through this life it is our duty to discover our destiny. Some of us go to college and become Doctors, Lawyers, Architects. Others of us cherish the finer things in life and find our places on farms and Dude Ranches. The point is, every living creature has a place in this world and we are ultimately steered in its direction. Holden Caulfield's voyage began when his brother died of Leukemia. Holden was emotionally destroyed by the loss of not only his brother, but his best friend also. The fact that his parents couldn't accept Holden's pain and that they even sent him to a shrink for it, proved to Holden that his parents didn't care as much as they were supposed to.

As Holden grew up, he found himself flunking out of school after school, never being able to stay in one place. This calamity was caused by either his overwhelmingly powerful hatred for people or because there was a conflict of interest between him and the school itself, about who they were trying to make him. Holden was also starting to view people as who they really were. Many of us in this world accept people at face value and never really take the time to see through the infinite masks that make up a personality, or a first impression. Holden however, took the time to understand who a person really was, and how fake they really were being. This changed his life enormously, as it would anybody's, because as soon as he could understand how much of a phony a person was being and who they truly were, he didn't have to feel inferior, scared or cast out by that person.

I think these views of life could have actually been caused by his brother's death. I think that when his brother died, his parents might have become phonies themselves. You must understand that when a parent loses one of their own creations they feel as if they have lost a part of themselves and cannot strive to go on. I think many parents find it easier to conceal their feelings inside of themselves, thus becoming what Holden could view as a phony. He didn't understand why his parents had to bottle it all up (which he thinks is wrong) and why he was almost punished for expressing his feelings freely (which he feels is the right thing to do). I believe that this is what led him to hate phonies and people in general.

As Holden reaches the eighteenth year of his life, he flunks out of yet another school. This time it is Pency prep, an all boy's school with a top of the line "PR". No matter how educationally advanced people think Pency is, Holden knows its no better than any other school. He hates the school and he hates most of the people in it, and when he leaves, he knows twenty years from now he won't regret it.

Holden becomes a traveler among the streets; he searches for a place in the world and is depressed when he cannot find one. But his place slowly comes to him one day on a lowly street corner. Holden Caulfield sees a very young boy walking along the curb singing "The Catcher in the Rye", and as the sad song flows into his ears, his destiny becomes apparent. Holden sees himself spending his life in a gigantic rye field full of thousands of kids, he watches over those children and if they start to fall off the cliff hidden at the edge of the rye, he would catch them and save them.

The Catcher in the Rye is a complex and intriguing analogy for life itself, the rye being life and the kids are, well, kids. They aren't to the stage yet where they have to worry about things and they have an unbelievable future ahead of them. But if they lost someone



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