A few days ago

Catcher in the Rye HELP?

I need to write an essay about how emotion motivates Holden in the Catcher in the Rye; rather than reason. I need to use themes, symbols, and setting in my examples. If you could think of one example I would really appreciate it.

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A few days ago

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it’s be a long time since I’ve read this but here goes. in the beginning when he fights with his roomy he’s emotional because he finds him conceited. he hates phony people-those with shiny, fake personalities. they disgust him so without thinking he gets into a fight he clearly cannon win. he know this, but he doesn’t reason it over because he’s emotional and impulsive.

when he talks to the women at the bar/restaurant he knows they are airheads, but because he is so lonely he tries to make small talk. he reasons that the woman he dances with is dumb and cannot hold a conversation. he says he hates those kinds of people “non-conversationalists” yet his emotions drive him to stay there longer.

he goes into an emotional fit when he goes out with that shallow girl. he clearly doesn’t like her, but he has no one else to see. later he YELLS FRANTICALLY to her explaining that they should leave, go somewhere away from where they are because he feels so low in his surroundings–although he knows she will not understand where his feelings and rationale are coming from, and she doesn’t. he’s a depressed, emotionally uncontrollable kid. he’s therefor confused and doesn’t know what to do.

um…and the reason he stays with Phoebe is because she is the only person (aside from his dead bother) who understands him. he cant leave her because he’s emotionally attached to her. he’s so proud of her. she’s smart, not phony, and most of all she looks up to him as a role model and acts like him. he doesn’t actually have a plan or a place to go so it’s not like he can reason with her or anyone else that leaving will be a reasonable thing to do. based on emotions he stays.

hope this helps-good luck on that essay. if u have any other questions feel free to email me.


A few days ago
Okay, let’s see, I read this book when I was nine then again in high school so I should have some detailed memory of it. I remember I got a 100 on the test without studying. I know he definitely makes a lot of decisions based on emotions, which is likely why he got kicked out of boarding school in the first place. Holden has a line that a lot of your classmates will probably quote in their essays, he says, probably more once, that he knows he should do something, but he’s just “not in the mood” or “doesn’t feel like it”. Acting purely based on emotions is a priviledged reflex that most adults cannot afford to act upon or they will lose their jobs or even their ranking in society. But Holden, who is young and sort of pitying himself over the death of his younger sibling, Ali, has one way or another decided he is worthy of acting out. In fact, he prides himself on it. In analyzing the title alone it is difficult to ignore that by dreaming that he is actually a “catcher in the rye” he is engaging in quite emotionally driven as opposed to reality based concepts. No one can save a a group of teenagers who are running towards the edge of a cliff. No one can physically catch a suicidal friend in their arms without getting hurt themselves, (if you know what I mean!) I theme almost for certain, though you could check out the cliff notes for more detailed assistance, is in my opinion isolation. Another theme is sort of the American Beauty concept that one “has to remember” or “Hold Onto” parts of their life as they might one day be gone forever. I think the choice of name for this character is not an accident. Another theme is probably his tendency to discard anything positive in his life. He describes even his teacher/s as sad people who don’t make a lot of money who’ve probably had to go through a lot, he’ll see a hole in someone’s clothing and jump to the conclusion that they’ve never been able to afford to dry clean even one shirt. He EXAGGERATES. Even when Holden calls up a prostitute on the phone and she arrives, rather than be pleased that she is attractive he says he was hoping she would be a little more matronly looking so he wouldn’t feel so bad taking advantage of her! I remember being a chubby nine-year-old and finding this part very offensive. Also, he calls up Jane repeatedly & I think hangs up on her because he’s not sure what to say, this is clearly a little creepy and irrational. Symbols are tougher, sorry I can’t help you out there, but I would imagine Central Park would be a good setting for one of your examples. The last concept which I think is important is sort of redundant, but he refuses to take on any real responsibility. He blames others a lot and claims himself as a savior though he does little to truly help others. He jumps to conclusions. He says at one point he’d like to live in the woods with a deaf girlfriend who wasn’t allowed to speak and they’d have to write everything down on “a god-damned piece of paper”. (Clearly he’s never worked in an office setting before – this isn’t much fun) Honestly I’m not sure if he’s being sarcastic and referring to how irritating it is to deal with everyday paperwork in an office setting, or whether or not he’s referring to how he’d literally prefer not talk to people. He sort of thinks he’s a mind-reader, he belittles and objectifies women. He’s a stereotype in a way of a teenaged American male with issues. Anyway, these are my opinions so checking out cliffs notes at barnes and noble is a good idea, you could even sit there and read through, take notes, no one is likely to care that you didn’t purchase it. If you can find a way to relate to Holden or identify things about him that you dislike you may have an easier time of analyzing his character. Good luck.