Unreachable Dreams in The Catcher in The Rye

:: 2 Works Cited
Length: 1131 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Unreachable Dreams in The Catcher in The Rye

 
   Many people find that their dreams are unreachable.  Holden

Caulfield realizes this in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.  As

Holden tells his story, he recounts the events since leaving the Pencey

School to his psychiatrist.  At first, Holden sounds like a typical,

misguided teenager, rebellious towards his parents, angry with his teachers,

and flunking out of school.  However, as his story progresses, it becomes

clear that Holden is indeed motivated, just not academically.  He has a

purpose: to protect the young and innocent minds of young children from the

"horrors" of adult society.  He hopes to freeze the children in time, as

wax figures are frozen in a museum.  After interacting with Phoebe, his

younger sister, Holden realizes that this goal is quite unachievable.

Holden wants to be the Catcher in the Rye, then realizes it is an

unreachable ideal.

 

      Holden begins his story misguided and without direction.  After

flunking out of the Pencey School, Holden decides to leave early.  Before

he leaves, though, he visits his teacher, Mr. Spencer.  Mr. Spencer and

Holden talk about his direction in life: "'Do you feel absolutely no

concern for your future, boy?' 'Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all

right. Sure. Sure, I do.' I thought about it for a minute. 'But not too

much, I guess,'" (14).  After leaving Pencey, he checks into a hotel where

he invites a prostitute up to his room.  He gets cold feet and decides not

to have intercourse with her, though.  Later, Holden decides to take his

old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, to the theater.  After taking her to the

theater, Holden formulates a crazy plan which entails running away with

Sally, getting married, and growing old together.  Sally thinks that he is

crazy, and she decides to go home.  During his stay away from home, Holden

drinks and smokes, showing even more misdirection.  However, when Holden

returns home and talks to his sister, Phoebe, his direction becomes clear.

      Holden wants to be the Catcher in the Rye to protect children from

the world in which he is forced to live.  While talking with Phoebe, she

asks Holden what he would like to be.  He responds saying:

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Unreachable Dreams in The Catcher in The Rye." 123HelpMe.com. 26 Sep 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=16591>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Use Of Symbolism In The Catcher In The Rye and The Great Gatsby Essay - Use Of Symbolism In “The Catcher In The Rye” and “The Great Gatsby” There are many writers like James Joyce, Patrick Kananach and Thomas Moore who use symbolism to convey and support indirect meaning in their writings. J.D. Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald both use symbolism in similar ways. In both “The Catcher In The Rye” and “The Great Gatsby”, the authors used symbolism to convey emotions and reality.      In “The Catcher In The Rye”, J.D. Salinger uses Holden’s red hunting cap, the exhibits at the Museum of Natural History and “kings in the back row” as symbols whose meanings help tell the story....   [tags: Catcher In the Rye Great Gatsby] 802 words
(2.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Literary Features in The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye Essay - ... Another symbol linked to colour, is the “green light” which depicts both hope and destruction of the American Dream. It almost becomes a metaphor for Daisy as for years it is the closest Gatsby can get to Daisy. I believe Fitzgerald almost wanted to merge the two together (Daisy and the green light) as a symbol of the future which is effective because the light is unreachable, Gatsby can only view it from a great distance which foreshadows the ending; he will never get Daisy, as well as his American dream which is also rendered unachievable....   [tags: Color, Symbolism] 1149 words
(3.3 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Dreams and Corrupt Societies in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay - ... No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart” (Fitzgerald 95-6). Gatsby essentially shaped his entire life around the fact that he would one day win Daisy back, and he is incessantly determined to do so, but without her, his life is essentially meaningless and his efforts are futile. His dream of an ideal life is too heavily based off of Daisy, because when she chooses Tom, Gatsby is left with nothing but a broken dream, which leads to his downfall and death....   [tags: society, reality, tom, daisy] 901 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Catcher in the Rye - The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger. It is narrated by Holden Caulfield, a cynical teenager who recently got expelled from his fourth school. Though Holden is the narrator and main character of the story, the focus of Salinger’s tale is not on Caulfield, but of the world in which we live. The Catcher in the Rye is an insatiable account of the realities we face daily seen through the eyes of a bright young man whose visions of the world are painfully truthful, if not a bit jaded. Salinger’s book is a must-read because its relatable symbolism draws on the reader’s emotions and can easily keep the attention of anyone....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
777 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Preservation of Innocence In The Catcher in the Rye Essay - Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
539 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Theme of Innocence in The Catcher In the Rye Essay - In many novels the title of the story is more important than most people initially think. It often reveals important information about the story. In The Catcher In the Rye, Holden says that his dream job would to be the catcher in rye. This is significant to the story because of how Holden feels that adults are trying to ruin the innocence of children, and how he can be the one that saves them. Holden then realizes he cannot always be the one to save the children. This is show throughout the book but especially in the scene where Holden takes Phoebe to the carousel.This shows that Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye so that he can help keep the children their innocence from adults....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays] 985 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Understanding the Inevitable in The Catcher in the Rye - Understanding the Inevitable in The Catcher in the Rye If something is inevitable, it will occur at some point in time. It is an event that will occur no matter what is done to stop it from happening. In the book The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield tries to stop himself from maturing into an adult. The book details the events that happen to show Holden that he cannot overcome maturity because maturity is inevitable. Holden Caulfield has failed out of three other prep schools before his parents enroll him at Prencey....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
918 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Catcher in the Rye Essay - Holden Caufield emphasizes on the loss of innocence in children. He feels that once they lose their innocence, they will soon turn into phonies like everyone else. The loss of innocence is very common in the development in human existence. It is caused by many factors. Past a certain age, children are either forced or led unintentionally into a pathway of corruption. A child is also known to lose their innocence by desires, fantasies, and attention. But once they lose their innocence, they tend to desire to go back and pretend to be young again....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays] 1876 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger as Holden Caulfield Essay - The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger as Holden Caulfield The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is home to the protagonist Holden Caulfield. There is no coincidence that he holds a striking resemblance to the author of the novel himself. Salinger seemed to have a similar childhood as Holden describes in The Catcher in the Rye. Both men also seemed to have a certain fascination with younger children, especially younger women. J.D. Salinger based one of his most famous characters, Holden Caulfield, on personal experience....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays] 424 words
(1.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Catcher In The Rye Essay - From the Outside, Looking In Despite the debate that may wage on regarding the status to be afforded J. D. Salinger's writings, the author's books have not quietly faded into obscurity. Although published almost a half-century ago, the author's most famous work, Catcher in the Rye, enjoys almost as healthy and devoted a following today as the book did when it was first published. Because of a self-imposed exile that began almost at the same time the Salinger's career was just taking off, much of the substance of the writer's life—his thoughts, ideals, writing objectives—remain shrouded in mystery....   [tags: J.D. Salinger Book Review Catcher Rye] 1679 words
(4.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches





 

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this

big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--

nobody big, I mean--except me.  And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy

cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go

over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're

going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do

all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.'" (173)

 

Holden wants to protect the innocence of his sister and every other

innocent child in the world.  Before Holden meets Sally for their date, he

stops in  front of the Museum of Natural History and begins to reminisce.

He thinks about the way he visited the museum when he was younger.  He also

tells that every time one visits the museum, he is changed in some way, but

the figures in the exhibits always stay the same.  He wants to be able to

preserve some things in the glass: "Certain things they should stay the way

they are.  You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass

cases and just leave them alone," (122).  Holden wants the innocence of

children to be frozen behind that glass.  When he visits Phoebe's school to

give her a note, Holden notices two instances of graffiti on the walls.  He

succeeds in rubbing one of them off cannot rub off the other.  It depresses

Holden to think that someday this kind of graffiti will spoil his sister

Phoebe and all of her companions.  Up to this point, keeping young children

from his plight is Holden's sole motive.  He soon realizes that this is

impossible.

 

      Holden sees that becoming the Catcher in the Rye is an unattainable

ideal.  When he meets Phoebe during her lunch break at school, he has made

up his mind to leave and hitchhike out west.  Phoebe knows this and asks if

she can come along.  This overwhelms Holden, and he decides not to leave.

Instead, he decides to take her to the zoo and to the carousel.  Phoebe

gets on the carousel and finds her favorite horse.  When the carousel

starts Holden notices Phoebe trying to grab for the golden ring.  He knows

this is dangerous but must let Phoebe do it: "All the kids kept trying to

grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid

she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say anything or do anything.

The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to

let them do it, and not say anything.  If they fall off, they fall off, but

it's bad if you say anything to them," (211).  He understands that

sometimes children must learn things the hard way.  As he sees Phoebe

riding the carousel he begins to cry.  He sees perfection in that moment,

and he knows that she will soon change as the world influences her.  Holden

finally realizes that he will not be able to protect his sister or anyone

from falling into the adult world.

 

      Holden transforms from a dreamy idealist into a down-to-earth

existentialist.  When he understands that his dream is far from possible,

he has to start over.  Throughout his story he talks about people being

phonies, which suggests that he has some ideal to which he compares people.

He tells his psychiatrist that he does not know what will happen in the

future: "A lot of people, especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have

here, keeps asking me if I'm going to apply myself when  I go back to

school next September.  It's such a stupid question, in my opinion.  I mean

how do you know what you're going to do till you do it?" (213).  Holden now

knows that he must live life by the moment and not with quixotic ideals.


Works Cited and Consulted

Marsden, Malcolm M. If You Really Want To Know: A Catcher Casebook. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1963.

Pinsker, Sanford. The Catcher In The Rye: Innocence Under Pressure. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

Roemer, Danielle M. "The Personal Narrative and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye". Western Folklore 51 (1992): 5-10.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.

Wildermuth, April. "Nonconformism in the Works of J.D. Salinger." 1997 Brighton High School. 24 November 1999. http://ww.bcsd.org/BHS/english/mag97/papers/Salinger.htm


Return to 123HelpMe.com