Thematic Analysis

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Jennifer Depew

Mrs. Petrini

English 12

February 26, 2009

Thematic Analysis

In The Catcher in the Rye, many obstacles were overcome by Holden Caulfield. Alienation, phoniness and loneliness are a few of the many obstacles that occurred in the book.

Alienation was an obstacle that Holden Caulfield displayed. Alienation can be perceived as just a way of protecting himself. His isolation gives us proof that he thinks he is better then everyone else around which gives him the right to not interact with them. Since it seems Holden gets confused and overwhelmed when he interacts with people, his superiority is a type of protection. Clearly alienation is part of his worst problems in life. Even though he does not come right out and say it, one can see that he just needs love and the human contact. He can not fulfill this need because of the wall of protection he has up. The alienation in his life show the little strength Holden has. An example is when he makes plans with people he will meet up with and then drives them away. Such as the time he met with Sally and started a conversation he knew would end with her getting angry. He does not have the strength to hold any type of relationship with anyone. Even though it destroys him, Holden continues to depend on his alienation.

Holden Caulfield had a goal of resisting the growth to maturity. Part of the reason he does this is because he is afraid of change. He would like to have everything easily understood. This frightens him because of the guilt he has for his criticism towards others. Also, it frightens him because he does not understand the world around him. It seems Holden refuses to acknowledge this fear. Holden sees childhood as a sense of curiosity, innocence, and honesty. This is just a fantasy Holden holds throughout the story. The understandings he has of childhood and adulthood give him an excuse to alienate himself from growing up.

Much of Holden’s problem of loneliness comes...