Allie’s Influence on Holden in the Catcher in the Rye
I think Allie influenced Holden the most in the novel. Allie, Holden’s younger brother, died of Leukemia when Holden was thirteen. Holden feels guilty after the death and blames himself for what happened, although there was nothing he or anyone else could do to prevent it. Allie’s death was one of the most traumatic experiences of Holden’s life and it impacted him in a negative way. Holden Caulfield, like every teenager, deals with adolescent struggles but few have to deal with the loss of their younger brother.
Holden loves his brother and described him as very smart “He was terrifically intelligent” (38). Everything Holden said about Allie was positive “God, he was a nice kid, though” (38). Holden was only thirteen when Allie died and didn’t take it well. Holden says in the novel, “I broke all the windows in the garage. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon but my hand was already broken” (39).
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He says, “My hand still hurts me once in a while, when it rains and all and I can’t make a real fist any more, not a tight one. ” (39) I believe the reasoning behind Holden’s actions is regret and guilt. There are parts throughout the novel that show Holden regrets not spending time with his brother, such as the times he didn’t let Allie come with him and his friends to hang out. Throughout the novel, Holden refers to death a lot. “I felt like jumping out the window.
I probably would’ve, too, if I’d been sure somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed…” (104). I don’t think that Holden would have fixated on death so much if he hadn’t lost his brother. I also believe that if this hadn’t happened Holden wouldn’t feel depressed all the time. “The more I thought about it, the more depressed I got” (195). Everyone gets melancholy once in a while but it seems to be a routine for Holden. Allies death also impacts the way Holden views life.
He doesn’t understand why such a young and smart child, like Allie, had to die and why not someone like himself. Holden seems confused on death and why it has to happen to those that are so young and innocent. Holden focuses on negatives in life rather than the positives. If Allie wouldn’t have died he would have a more positive perspective or view towards everyday life. Allie’s death is like a scar on Holden that won’t ever go away. It affected Holden’s point of view and personality. Allie influenced Holden in a negative way.