Holden Caulfield – Bully or bullied?

The main character of J. D. Salingers book The Catcher in the Rye is Holden Caulfield and he is a sixteen-year-old boy who has just been expelled from a school called Pencey Prep. He has failed now from four different schools. He has visited psychiatrist for an unspecified complaint and he has trouble making his social life better than it was. Reading the book, you notice two things what has happened in his past that have something to do with his emotional state. 1. death of his brother Allie and 2. the suicide of one of his schoolmates.

In the start of the book Holden tells us very shortly, what he’s going to tell in the book and what kind of stuff he would not like to tell us. Here’s a clip from the book: “”If YOU REALLY WANT TO HEAR about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where is was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like  going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddamn autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.”

Holden is quite intelligent and tries to protect himself from the pain and disappointment what he might run into in the rough adult world. He’s a former bully, but now when he went to a boarding school, he is the one who’s being bullied.  He is dubious with his own weaknesses. As the novel opens, Holden stands on the cliff separating childhood from adulthood. He just tries to get along with other kids.

Holden is a virgin, but he is fascinated by sex, and in fact, he spends notably much time in the novel trying to lose his virginity. He thinks that the actual act should happen between people who really care by each other and respect one another and he is upset by the realization that sex can be casual.

Holden Caulfield is comparable to present-day youngsters and teenagers. Bulling, teasing and discrimination is very common in life today. I hope that this books character, Holden Caulfield, would be some kind of example for teens and kids who are reading this book. I think that this book can give a lot if you read it.

Holden Caulfield in a Mind map (click the picture)

10 challenging words

  1. Jaded = Uupunut
  2. Apathy = apatia
  3. Cynicism = kyynisyys
  4. Make a racker = pitää meteliä
  5. Foyer = eteisaula
  6. Braids = punokset
  7. Acquaintances = tuttavat
  8. Inkognito = tuntemattomana
  9. Galoshes = kalossit
  10. Conceited = omahyväinen


J. D. Salinger. 1945, 1946, 1951, (renewed 1979). The Catcher in The Rye. Little, Brown and Company, USA 237 Park Avenue, NY 10017


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ms Leino
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 10:54:56

    This is clearly not your own text, here are just a couple of the sources I found http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/catcher/characters.html & http://www.wikisummaries.org/The_Catcher_in_the_Rye which make me doubt whether you’ve read the book at all.


  2. Gonzi
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 22:20:20

    this character analyze is very well-maded and I get interested in at the start! 🙂 you described the character finely so the book is very catchy when it tell about boys problem. great job! 😛

    all 10 words are very challenging and useful, it helps me to understand as well. you have done great find. 😀

    Mind map is extremely well done, with that everybody can utilize. I think that you did a great job and character analyze is inspirational. well done! 😀


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