Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 2000
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield views the world as an evil and corrupt place where there is no peace. "His anger turned to relentlessly unforgiving social scorn." (Coles)This perception of the world does not change significantly through the novel. However as the novel progresses, Holden gradually comes to the realization that he is powerless to change this.
"Holden Caulfield had much going for him--a comfortable suburban life and a privileged educational background in a private school." (Coles) During the short period of Holden's life covered in this book. Shortly after Holden leaves Pencey Prep, he checks in to the Edmont Hotel. This is " what Holden Caulfield would call ‘the phony world’." (French) Holden spends the following evening in the hotel which was "full of perverts and morons. [There were] screwballs all over the place."(Salinger 61) His situation only deteriorates from this point on as the more he looks around this world, the more depressing life seems.
Around every corner Holden sees corruption. He looks out on a world which appears completely immoral and unscrupulous. In those three days the novel places a distressed Holden in the vicinity of Manhattan. The city is decked with decorations and holiday splendor, yet, much to Holden's despair seldom yields any occasions of peace, charity or even genuine merriment. Holden is surrounded by what he views as drunks, perverts, morons and screwballs. These convictions which Holden holds waver very momentarily during only one particular scene in the book. The scene is that with Mr. Antolini. After Mr. Antolini patted Holden on the head while he was sleeping, Holden jumped up and ran out thinking that Mr. Antolini was a pervert as well. This is the only time during the novel where Holden thinks twice about considering someone as a pervert. After reviewing Mr. Antolini, Holden finally concludes that maybe he wasn't making a "flitty" pass at him. Maybe he just like patting guys heads as they sleep. This is really the only time in the novel where Holden actually considers a positive side. But this was a major let down for him. Mr. Antolini was what Holden had thought of as a father type figure but it turns out Mr. Antolini ruined the sense of trust between them. This event does not constitute a significant change. As Holden himself says, "It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes...