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.