Catcher in the Rye: Chapters 7-9

{click here for my last post on Catcher!}

As soon as I began to read these chapters, I wondered “why is Holden Caulfield so fake?” Well… that’s because he is. Holden has put on this bad boy, smoking, cursing, nonchalant, sex-obsessed, “you’re all phonies!” persona like a muffler over his real self. It’s obvious that Holden is struggling with trauma or depression or the like, but he constantly represses it until it actually becomes difficult to read. I know pretty much all teenagers don’t want to expose themselves around everyone they know, but at least they have friends to confide in. Holden is so, so lonely that this just eats him up from the inside until he can’t take it. He doesn’t want to be fake, and he doesn’t want to get close to people in fear they’ll abandon him. This dude has some serious issues.


Every two pages Holden says he feels “so lonesome and rotten.” Then immediately after, he asks about joining a monastery. Because that will certainly help with his loneliness. For the amount of issues Holden has, you’d think he’d try to do something about it. Anything. You’d even think his incessant flirting with women would make him feel better, but that, too, leads up to… nothing.

On page 52, Holden mentions that he’s packing the skates his mother bought him just a few days ago: “That depressed me. I could see my mother going into Spalding’s and asking the salesman a million dopy (sic) questions- and here I was getting the ax again… Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”

Now, people don’t just get kicked out of prep schools again and again for no reason, so why is it happening to Holden? He’s not too proud of himself, that’s for sure. You can tell in these chapters, while he’s wandering throughout the streets of NYC, that he’s pretty depressed. And in the quote above, it seems that he doesn’t believe he’s good enough to receive presents, and it even makes him feel guilty. People take time to do something nice for him, and here he is  failing them again (i.e., getting kicked out of another school), so the main question in Holden’s mind at this point seems to be: What’s the point anymore?


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