Catcher in the Rye – Character Analysis

J.

D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, follows Holden Caulfield, a troubled, confused and angry teenager who is tired of being controlled by people. After being kicked from yet another boarding school, Holden sets off on his own for an enlightening two day adventure in New York City. Although Holden’s story is chiefly about him and him alone, it is driven by a cadre of minor characters, people whom Holden meets, leaves, and reconciles with, all of whom play a role in unraveling the intricacies of Holden’s anxious mind, as he weaves us his story.

Possibly the most notable of these characters is Holden’s recently departed little brother, Allie; who, as Holden says, “got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18 1946.” Allie’s death hit Holden very hard and is one of the primary reasons for his depression, anxieties, and anger at the world. Being as he was just a kid when he died (two years younger than Holden) Allie never had a chance to grow up, and he missed so many opportunities and experiences. Allie guides the story through in many ways as Holden often turns to him (or rather his memory of him) for support, and so Allie acts as a lifeline of sorts when Holden feels alone and lost.

Allie died while he was still innocent and pure, now as Holden is coming of age, and losing that same innocence he feels like he is in turn losing what he has left of Allie. Holden’s sister, Phoebe, is remarkably mature for her age and is one of the only characters found in this novel that is able to bring out maturity in Holden as well. Being as she is his little sister by 6 years, Holden is obviously protective of her, but she also is of him, helping him to cope with change and move on in a healthy manner from Allie’s death, often without even fully realizing it. Towards the end of the story Holden spends a day out with Phoebe, going to the park and watching her ride the carousel, and is happy. One of Holden’s main str.

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