J. D Salinger’s novel “Catcher in the Rye,” focuses mainly on Holden Caulfield because he is the narrator and the novel is about his memory of characters and events throughout the story. These characters are more than just remembrances but actually help the reader to better understand Holden. Mr. Antolini, Phoebe, and Jane Gallagher are all characters that help fully characterize Holden. Mr. Antolini helps the reader better understand Holden’s hasty judgments about characters in the novel. He is one of the few people in the novel who Holden respects and does not consider a “phony.
Holden respects Mr. Antolini because he understands him and does not treat him like an inferior student like the rest of his teachers do. Mr. Antolini is very open with Holden and this is shown when he lets him stay the night in his apartment. Holden’s quick judgments of people are shown and better understood when Mr. Antolini touches his forehead while he sleeps in chapter 24. “I know more damn perverts, at schools and all, than anybody you ever met, and they’re always being perverty when I’m around. “(192) Holden jumps to conclusions right away when he wakes up to Mr.
Antolini touching his forehead. Instead of thinking that his teacher was just showing affection and care for a student he is very quick to think that he is a pervert and homosexual. In the quote Holden says, “they’re always being perverty when I’m around,” this is more evidence that Holden jumps to conclusions and is quick with assumptions rather than to think about what it is to be a pervert. He thinks that he is just in the wrong place at the wrong time but it is more likely that he just assumes they are being “perverty” when they are truly not.
Another example of Holden being quick with judgment is directly after the incident happens. Without letting the incident sink in, Holden changes into his clothes and runs out of the apartment. Mr. Antolini and the events that take place in his apartment help the reader fully understand Holden. Mr. Antolini is a compassionate person and his actions are out of care for his friend and student, Holden’s quick and hasty judgment is shown when he overlooks Mr. Antolini’s concern and affection for a homosexual advance.
Phoebe is another character that helps the reader better understand Holdens rejection to mature and enter the adult world. In the novel Phoebe is Holden’s idea of childhood innocence but Phoebe challenges his view by acting older and more mature than she is. Phoebe knows that Holden is stubborn about maturing and growing up and she views him as a troubled person and that is why she tries to help him towards the end of the novel. An example of when Phoebe helps the reader understand that Holden is stubborn about growing up is when she says, “Stop swearing.
All right, name something else. Name something that you’d like to be. “(172) In this passage Phoebe is acting more like an adult and trying to get Holden to realize that he needs to think about his future. Throughout the book Holden has shown evidence that he is immature by not caring about school and his future, after Phoebe asks, “Name something you’d like to be,” and Holden responds by ultimately saying, “I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. ” This shows that he is truly has no real concern about growing up and having a future.
Another example of how Phoebe gives evidence through her character of Holden’s rejection to growing up and maturing is at the end when she wants to run away with Holden. She does not want to run away with Holden so he can take care of her but so she can take care of him. She does this because she understands Holden is a distressed young man. Phoebe’s character helps the reader see that Holden rejects growing up and maturing into a young man. Jane Gallagher is a character in the novel that helps the reader understand Holden’s character extensively.
In the novel Jane shows that Holden does not want to let go of his childhood innocence. Jane is one of the few girls that Holden respects and feels affection for. Although her character does not appear in the novel, Holden’s thoughts and remembrances he shares with the reader show his inability to depart with his childhood innocence. In the novel Holden thinks about sex constantly. Although he tries to lose his virginity numerous times in the novel, he is upset that sex can be casual, and believes it should be between only people you know very well.
This is evident when Jane and Strandlater go on a date in the beginning of the novel. Holden can not come to think that Jane, who barely knows Strandlater, had sex with him. ” What’d you do? ‘ I said. Give her the time in Ed Banky’s god dam car? ‘ My voice was shaking something awful. ” This passage gives evidence that Holden is clearly uncomfortable with casual sex. In the passage he asks Stradlater a question that he doesn’t really want to know because he is afraid to find out that Stradlater did have sex with Jane.
That is why he says, ” My voice was shaking something awful. ” Holden’s helplessness to realize that sex can be casual is showing that he is immature and that he doesn’t want to let go of his childhood innocence. Jane’s character, a girl who Holden knows very well and has affection for, has casual sex which makes Holden very upset, this helps the reader better understand Holden’s immatureness and his refusal to let go of his childhood innocence. In the novel “Catcher in the Rye” the reader is able to better understand Holden by the characters in his remembrances. Mr.
Antolini, a person who shows affection for Holden, shows the reader that Holden makes quick assumptions and judgments with characters in the novel. Phoebe, Holden’s younger sister, makes it evident to the reader that Holden does not want to grow up, mature, and have a future as an adult. Jane Gallagher’s character also helps the reader better understand Holden by making it evident that he does not want to let go of his childhood innocence. Although Holden’s character is the main focus of the novel, his remembrances of other key characters help define him and give the reader a better understanding of who he is.