How I Relate To Holden Caulfield From J.d. Salinger’s Novel The Catcher In The Rye

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

“The Catcher in the Rye” written by J.D. Salinger is narrated by a young boy named Holden Caulfield. Holden, a seventeen-year-old, currently hospitalized in a mental institution, narrates the events of his previous school term in which he gets expelled from his fourth boarding school based on his poor academic record.

Holden Caulfield can be described as discontent adolescent. His vivid way of expressing it, could make him resonate powerfully with readers who come from backgrounds completely different from his. This leads me to how Holden relates to IB profile attributes. Holden shows how it was tempting to inhabit his point of view and revel in his sensitivity rather than try to deduce what is wrong with him. The obvious signs that Holden is a troubled and unreliable narrator are manifold: he fails out of four schools, he manifests complete apathy toward his future, he is hospitalized, and visited by a psychoanalyst, and he is unable to connect with other people.

Holden Caulfield is a very adventurous and spontaneous character. He displays these characteristics numerous times in the first half of the novel. Being adventurous or spontaneous can also be thought of as being a risk taker. In life, I believe it is good to be a risk taker in some situations, but there is a line between good risk taking and harmful risk taking. Holden shows his characteristic of being a risk taker by many events in the novel in which he shows the act of rebellion and immaturity. He acts this way when he is kicked out of his previous boarding school and decides to take off into the city of New York.

A quote that can represent this is when he says ‘I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear, it’s a stupid question.’ (Salinger 125) This quote demonstrates how Holden its not scared of danger and of not knowing what could happen to him next. He is a very curious guy that Is willing to risk anything to see what’s on the other side. Holden was spontaneous and that can be good for some things, but he was more of a negative risk taker which can be related to his struggles as a teenager. He seems very depressed all the time and is not very successful at anything. It’s good to be adventurous in an effort to explore new things but for a positive experience without a risk for negative consequences. Holden didn’t think before he acted many times which made him have a lot of poor choices.

An attribute that Holden does not acquire and lacks in many ways is being a communicator. The lack of communication works in two ways as a theme in the novel. First, there is a lack of attempts to communicate, that we see in Holden’s reluctance to confide in his parents. The second is a deeper lack of communication, in which Holden talks but feels that people don’t understand him or people attempt to communicate with Holden, but he sees these attempts through a sufficiently hostile perspective that they never actually connect.

A quote that supports this attribute that Holden does not acquire is: “But I was too afraid my parents would answer, and then they’d find out I was in New York and kicked out of Pencey and all.” (Salinger 68) This shows how Holden did not only have a lack of communication with his peers but with his parents too. Holden’s lack of communication negatively affects his ability to form and maintain relationships with others throughout the novel. Holden’s cynical nature and lack of self-awareness are also highlighted in his inability to communicate effectively.

In conclusion how I relate myself to the IB attributes is being open minded. I am very aware of my surroundings and can relate to many people’s opinions. I accept other people’s cultures, feeling, differences, and I listen to their point of view. I am curious about why there is disagreement and I understand that there is always the possibility that they might be wrong and that it’s worth the little bit of time it takes to consider the other person’s views, and always willing to consider new ideas. Another IB attribute that I can relate to is caring. I am a very lovable person and I’m always willing to help others. I am also very honest and open to talk to everyone.


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