RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework
- How important is sex to Holden? Is his messed up attitude toward sex a symptom of his problem, or is it more like a cause?
- If Holden is so obsessed with saving children’s innocence, why doesn’t he worry more about his own? What does “innocence” mean for him? To him?
- Typically characters grow and develop as the novel progresses. Analyze the transitions that Hold goes through in the novel. Does he change from the beginning to the end? If so, analyze three ways in which Holden changes. If not, analyze how Holden stayed the same throughout the novel
- What does the last line of the book mean? What does it indicate has happened or will happen to Holden?
- The whole novel is Holden’s narration of this long story. Who is he telling this story to (besides the reader) and what can we then conclude about Holden’s fate?
Typically characters grow and develop as the novel progresses. Analyze the transitions that Hold goes through in the novel. Does he change from the beginning to the end? If so, analyze three ways in which Holden changes. If not, analyze how Holden stayed the same throughout the novel
Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. In the book Holden hears a quote “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he want to live humbly for one” (Salinger 188) which he embraces as he matures throughout the story. Holden’s opinions of childhood and adulthood change as he grows through experience.
Throughout the story Holden emphasizes his love for childhood innocence. In a passage he says “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.” (Salinger 211) This immediately points to his affinity for innocence and not having the limits of being and adult. Instead of acknowledging that adulthood scares and mystifies him, Holden invents a fantasy that adulthood is a world of superficiality and hypocrisy (“phoniness”), while childhood is a world of innocence, curiosity, and honesty. Nothing reveals his image of these two worlds better than his fantasy about the catcher in the rye: he imagines childhood as an idyllic field of rye in which children romp and play; adulthood, for the children of this world, is equivalent to death—a fatal fall over the edge of a cliff. His created understandings of childhood and adulthood allow Holden to cut himself off from the world by covering himself with a protective armor of cynicism. But as the book progresses, Holden’s experiences, particularly his encounters with Mr. Antolini and Phoebe, reveal the shallowness of his conceptions.