“Life is Allie. In the book we see

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“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right—I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.”(11) The quote is from Holden’s conversation with Spencer in chapter 2. His old teacher is agonizing him about his failures at Pencey. He lectures Holden about how important it is to “play by the rules” meaning that if you want to get somewhere and be someone in life you have to be able to compromise and not think that you are better than anyone else. This conversation implies key aspects of him as a character. His contempt for adults is obvious, which is also shown by the way Holden curses about Spencer. The reader can also see how lonely Holden feels, which he himself clearly identifies with those on the “other side” of the game, how he feels alone and exploit as the world was against him. Feeling lonely during your teenage years is probably quite common. How does Catcher in the Rye illustrate that growing is a difficult thing and maybe even bad? To support this argument, the essay will elevate three main points described in the book, Allie’s baseball mitt, Phoebe aging, and his future. When you encounter death in the family at a very young age, it creates scars for life, which is clearly seen in Holden’s case. In fact, when Phoebe asks Holden the one thing he likes the most, the first thing he says is Allie. In the book we see that Holden is depressed, he often relates his depression to Allie, which was his younger brother, who died of leukemia when he was eleven and Holden was thirteen. Even though Holden talks and thinks a lot about Allie, we never meet him in the story. Holden often mentions Allie’s baseball mitt,which the reader interprets as a symbol for his dead brother. The baseball mitt seems to be an excuse for Holden to tell stories about his dead brother, giving the reader details about how “amazing” he was and how much he is missed by Holden. Holden describes Allie as the most intelligent member in the family, incredibly nice and innocent. Allie was left handed, he had red hair, and he wrote poems on his glove suggesting that maybe he was a bit sensitive and emotional, it also tells the reader that Allie was a bit special. It is clear throughout the story that Holden his brother. For the readers Allie sounds like a normal kid, but for Holden he is the most intelligent, nicest, sweetest most endearing kid with the best sense of humor you’ll ever meet (43). Holden has problems dealing with this kind of complexity, which is why he often isolates himself from other people. He has a problem accepting people getting close to him. Even though he meets new opportunities for both physical and emotional closeness, he slips all of them up, creating a bubble around himself with mental, critical and hateful anger (Sparknotes). Holden has a problem with accepting greater changes in his life and after what happened with Allie, he is much more vulnerable than he was before. In addition to Holden’s problems with depression, he also has problems accepting the fact that Phoebe is growing up. Holden has no fear of dying, neither is he scared of becoming an adult, but he is having problems accepting the fact that his little is growing up. It’s clear in the book that Holden’s life mainly consists of Phoebe. He cares a lot for her, almost too much, which probably mirrors his relationship with Allie before, he is scared of losing Phoebe as well. Chapter 21 describes his relationship with Phoebe. Holden sneaks into his family’s apartment in New York to see Phoebe, on his way in he sees Phoebe’s math book on her desk. On the first page her name is written as PHOEBE WEATHERFIELD CAULFIELD.  “That killed me.” Holden says. “Her middle name is Josephine, for God’s sake, not Weatherfield. She doesn’t like it, though. Every time I see her she’s got a new middle name for herself”(177).Holden cares about Phoebe in ways he never would for anyone else. Phoebe is his closest family member and his best friend. He always wants the best for her and loves her endlessly. Everytime Holden is urging to talk to someone he always thinks of calling Phoebe, but he never goes through with it. Even though he is struggling to cope with Phoebe growing up Holden himself doesn’t fear death, this is evidenced from a quote in chapter 20, when he sits in central park thinking he will catch pneumonia and die. “Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” This is showing that Holden is fine with dying, but that he has problems dealing with changes. He is also aware of the fact that he isn’t such a “hot-shot” when it comes to school, and building a strong future for himself. Everyday Holden gets closer to adulthood, which will require him to go out and find a job.  When it comes to school Holden isn’t much different. He has throughout the story been kicked out of three schools. The book starts with Holden being at Pencey Prep, which he is expelled from. In chapter one, Holden describes his story why he had to leave Pencey Prep.”They kicked me out. I wasn’t supposed to come back after christmas vacation, on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying and all”(6). This relates back to the quote in the very beginning of my essay. Holden is aware that he isn’t one of those “hot-shots” whose future is as bright as the sun is on a warm day in July. This is probably a cause to his depression as well. Even though he has been expelled from several schools, he doesn’t seem to have learned anything. His parents pay for almost all of his needs, every school he goes to and everything he buys, including all the trips he takes around the country. His parents will likely keep supporting him for good and bad.This is another piece of evidence that states, the only reason for why he isn’t worried about his future even though he is fully aware of that his future isn’t looking good, he assumes that his parents will continue to support him throughout the rest of his life.Adolescence changes people, how they behave, how they respond to different situations and their view on life. The main reason for Holden’s behaviour is because he genuinely has no future to live for, his life is a miserable failure in is own view. He even says in the book, that his ambitions equals impossible , there is just too many “fuck-you” signs in the world. Throughout he also thinks about committing suicide two times. Which is two times too much. The Catcher in the Rye describes growing up as a kind of suffering, but can growing up really be a bad thing?

Categories: Plays


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