Ever felt like there needs to be someone there to talk to, cry with, fight with, or just need a hug from? Those feelings dwell from loneliness, something Holden Caulfield knows all about. Holden Caulfield, J. D. Salingers main character in the book The Catcher In the Rye, is young man on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. One contributor to this breakdown, is the loneliness that Holden experiences. His loneliness is apparent through many ways including: his lack of friends, his longing for his dead brother, and the way he attempts to gain acceptance from others.
Holden Caulfield is currently attending Pencey private school; well technically getting the boot from there for his poor academics, and this is his third school he has now been through. At Pencey, just as in the past two schools, Holden has troubles making friends. To Holden, everyone is either corny of phony. He used the term to describe what a person is if they dont act naturally and follow other peoples manners and grace. Holden didnt like phonies, he thought of them as if they were trying to show off.
He didnt like it when they showed off because it seemed so fake and unnatural every time they would do it. When Holden was on his way to the bar, he shared his insights about the piano player Earnie. Earnies a big, fat, colored guy who plays the piano. Hes a terrific snob and wont hardly talk to you unless you are a big shot or celebrity or something, but he can really play the piano. Hes so good, hes almost corny in fact (page 80). Also on page 126, he makes reference to Earnies playing again. They [people outside the theater] acted a little bit the way old Earnie, down in the village, plays the piano.
If you do something too good, then after a while if you dont watch it, you start showing off. And then youre not as good anymore. Holden does not allow himself to have friendship because of his he is corny attitude. Right away in the beginning of the book, the reader knows that Holden is lonely when he separates himself from the rest of the Pencey students by watching the football game from Thomsen Hill and not the grand stands. .. you could hear them [students in grand stands] all yelling, deep and terrific on the Pencey side, because practically the whole school was there except me (page 5).
Holden wasnt a very sociable person partly because he finds himself better than many others. He dislikes his roommate because of his generic leather luggage. Its really hard to be roommates with someone if your luggage is better than theirs, it really is (page 109), says Holden. He dislikes his roommate over something so insignificant as luggage. Holden sits in his room reading, cause he has no friends to be with. A kid named Ackely is his next door roommate, and he doesnt seem to want a friendship with him either.
Holden finds Ackelys zit crusted face ridiculous and doesnt want him in his room at first. This should light a bulb in the readers head and signify internal problems with Holden and shows he has a lot of loneliness. Holdens loneliness is apparent in more than just him lacking friends. His loneliness shines through by the way he misses his deceased brother, Allie. Holden makes several references to Allie and how the two used to do stuff (page 38, 68, 98, 138, 140, 155, 198, 210). Holden deeply misses his brother and even talks to him out loud (page 98).
I believe Holden misses his brother more than others because Holden never got that final closure to his brothers death; Holden never went to Allies funeral, and so I believe that Holden didnt get to say his good-bye. What Holden did do though, is punch out all the windows in the garage the night of Allies death. When Holden gets deeply depressed and lonely, he just talks to Allie- wishing that Allie was still here to do stuff with. By not letting go of Allie, it is visible to the reader how lonely Holden Caulfield is. Lastly, the final way to detect Holdens loneliness, is portrayed through his ways of trying to gain acceptance from others.
Holden tried all he could to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make it seem he was very knowing of these habits. Holden just wanted to be loved. I know he said he didnt care about how people thought he looked when he wore his hunting cap, but deep inside I believe he wanted to be loved, and he attempted to do this by gaining acceptance of those around him. This is a very human behavior, though. I think we have all been guilty of this sometime in our lives. We have changed our clothing, our language, our lifestyle to be normal.
To try and fit in with the popular group. When we do those things, it comes from insecurity within. We are insecure with who we are, and we want to change so that we are not an outsider. To me, Holden is insecure and is crying for help and for someone to comfort him. Holden Caulfield has had a rough, disturbing life. During this journey in his life, he has become very lonely. While reading this 214 paged book, The Catcher and the Rye, the reader can discover Holdens loneliness by his lack of friends, his mourning of his younger brother, and his attempts to gain acceptance from others.