“Holden remains at the end what he was at the beginning: cynical, defiant, and blind. ” Do you agree? The Catcher in the Rye is a novel written in the 1950’s by J. D. Salinger. Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, the novel’s narrator and protagonist, addresses the reader directly from a hospital in southern California, recounting the events leading up to his breakdown the previous December. Throughout the novel it is clear that Holden’s cynicism and his defiant take on life remains, while his perception of life and blindness changes as the novel progresses and as Holden learns new lessons.
Holden is a cynical character that always sees the faults in people and never sees the good in them, even if they are trying to help him. One early example of Holden’s pessimism is when he goes and says good-by to Mr Spencer, Holden characterizes Mr Spencer’s behaviour throughout their talk as nasty and mean-spirited, but Mr Spencer’s actions clearly seem to be motivated by concern for Holden’s well-being.
A later example of Holden’s harsh judgement towards others is when Mr. Antolini touches Holden’s forehead when he is sleeping, Mr Antolini may overstep a boundary in his display of concern and affection.
However, there is little evidence to suggest that he is making a sexual meaning, as Holden thinks, and much evidence that Holden misinterprets his action. This two examples are show that Holden’s cynicism throughout the play does not change very much and that Holden does not learn anything from his mistakes; much like his defiant take on life. Holden defiant take on life makes him rebel against society, his family mainly his father, school and sometimes himself; another way that Caulfield rebels against society is the way he loves to lie all the time.
Holden rebels against his father by not following what his father believes what is better for him, which is to try at school. “I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them” As he puts it, he leaves schools all the time and does not really care about it; he just does what he feels like. When it comes to lying Holden accepts that he is a terrific liar “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. ” Holden lies about almost anything like his age, his identity, etc. Holden
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