A Boy Named Holden.

In The Catcher In The Rye, we meet a teenage boy named Holden. His first introduction wasn’t a good one; he is expelled for failing four of his five classes at his private school. Following his expulsion, his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, decides to have a word with Holden. He explains how life is nothing but a game, a game where you must play by the rules. Now, Holden is a boy who has pretentious views and absolutely hates phonies. Although, it seems that he does hold some respect for Mr. Spencer (mostly due to his age), but after their meeting, Holden is only filled with annoyance and loathing. I find Holden to be a very interesting character who is highly misunderstood. He is the type of person you have to analyze to understand. So far I have noticed that he covers his feelings. If I could describe Holden in two words they would have to be lonely and misread. He hates leaving schools because he hates goodbyes. But it’s more of the fact that he has no one to say goodbye to. He once recalled a fond memory of one night where he had passed a football around at night with some friends, showing some possible sadness of leaving people he knows behind. That little memory shows that deep down, he really is just a normal teenage boy who probably wishes his life could be as typical as everyone else’s.

It is also strongly hinted that Holden has immense feelings for an old friend named Jane. His low-key sloppy but attractive roommate, Stradlater, is introduced. He tells Holden that he is going on a date with a girl named Jane. Holden is clearly tormented by the idea, thus revealing his true feelings towards the girl named Jane. Stradlater then tells Holden to do his homework for him in a composition paper. Instead of doing what he was told he decides to write about a baseball glove his brother Allie used to own. Stradlater becomes irritated and begins to insult Holden but he gets no response. Holden then asks about the date with Jane and Stradlater refuses to tell Holden anything, leading to a fight.

Clearly hurt and agitated he decides to leave for New York for a few days and stay in some cheap motel. He sells his typewriter to a rich kid down the hall who was borrowing it for $20. After he had packed and cried for a bit he then looks back at Pencey and shouts “Sleep tight, ya morons!”

I feel that in a way, Holden can be a relatable character. Just another teenager who is stuck in a never ending depressive episode. As Mr. Spencer said, life is a game with only two sides; the winning or losing. Right now, Holden is no doubt in the losing category. His peers are constantly telling him he is useless or hinting that he is going nowhere. I see Holden as a mentally ill teenager who can’t help but see the world as superficial or hypocritical. I am very interested in learning more about Holden’s past and what affected him so much.

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The Truth About Play

My favorite thing about this homework assignment was getting a sense of freedom. To spend a whole hour just playing made me feel child-like. I went with a friend and played cards and also shot some hoops for an hour. Next time we have a day of play I would hope to play with some board games since I don’t have any knowledge with them. This experience taught me that it is okay to set homework aside for a short period of time and just enjoy life and the atmosphere around me. It also had me contemplating how the lack of freedom in children’s lives came to be.

The Ted Talk that was given by Peter Gray made some really valid points and provided lots of useful information. He stated that modern kids are constantly being watched by adults and don’t have the same freedom that kids from the 1950s had. He noted that the 1950s aren’t to be glamorized but that we could learn from the idea of the liberation that past children had. He told a story that can really show the difference between children here in America and those in other isolated parts of the world. Alongside one of his graduate students, he had conducted a survey of anthropologists who had observed the way children of hunter-gatherer cultures play. Their studies showed that the children were allowed to roam freely on their own and play however they please. The results left these children to be some of the brightest, most cooperative, resilient, and happiest children they have ever observed. Nowadays children are being watched like hawks by everyone around them. Children aren’t free to make mistakes and learn from them because adults are always watching and setting rules.

Most teenagers also don’t have freedom. Luckily, I have somewhat lenient parents so I did get to experience some things on my own. But others aren’t fortunate enough. Some parents will push their kids to the breaking point by not allowing them to go anywhere without an adult or older sibling or even go out with friends. To me, that shows a nerve wrecking feeling of possession.

The podcast about checkers and chess relates to the topic of play. In checkers, the rules are simply too strict. And too many rules can equal no fun and everything being too predictable. Now as for chess, there is more freedom. Checkers can be compared to modern days and chess can be life in the 1950s. The best moment in a person’s life is simply the unexpected. When you don’t know what is going to happen it creates a feeling of adrenaline. Fewer rules are when you feel the most alive.

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