Catcher In The Rye, Compares To Biblical Quote Essay, Research Paper
Throughout life, an individual may endure several emotionally
or physically straining moments. In The Catcher In The Rye, Holden
Caulfield suffers much verbal abuse, as well as physical. Both forms
of the abuse, combined with other factors, eventually leads Holden to
suffer a mental breakdown. Holden s actions prove that ** A blow
from a whip raises a welt, but a blow from the tongue smashes
Holden experiences several fights throughout the story. Near
the beginning, he begins a struggle with Stradlater, his roommate,
over his friend s date, Jane Gallagher. Holden was upset to learn that
the couple were alone in a car, knowing Stradlater s sexual history.
Holden s mind chooses to push out the incident, so it is foggy in his
head. But all he knew was, he tried to hit Stradlater but missed.
After the miss, Stradlater proceeded to climb on top of Holden and
take hold of his wrists, not letting him up. Stradlater dug his knees
deep into Holden s chest to keep him from moving. This seemed to
go on for around ten hours . When Stradlater finally gave in and let
Holden get up, the struggle started again, ending with a bloody nose
for Holden. Afterwards, although Holden was somewhat offended by
the actions, he did not seem to care about his dripping nose. He went
directly over to Ackley s room, not even stopping to wipe up his nose.
He also did not seem to care about the overall fight, because he
talked of it like it meant nothing to him. I had a little goddam tiff
with Stradlater, he explains to Ackley. Do you feel like playing a
little Canasta? This quick forgetting shows that the fight had little
affect on Holden, and that his injury meant little to him.
While Holden is in the Edmont Hotel, the elevator man mentions
the prospect of a prostitute. Holden reluctantly agrees to a throw,
which would cost him five dollars. Holden was very nervous during
his wait, but when the girl showed up he told her he only wanted to
talk. Even though they didn t do anything, Holden paid his money,
only to find that the girl was promised ten. Holden refused to pay the
extra amount, assuring the girl that he was told a throw was only five
and he was not going to pay more. She left, only to return minutes
later with the elevator man, Maurice. Maurice threatened and
punched Holden, demanding the extra five dollars that he owed .
After a bit of roughing up , Sunny, the prostitute, searches Holden s
wallet and pulls out another five. Sunny starts out the door, but
Maurice was still holding Holden, snapping on him and shoving him. Right before stepping out, he gives Holden a punch in the stomach.
Although Holden was hurt badly, he didn t care much about how he
felt. All he knew was that he could hardly breathe. Halfway to the
bathroom, he started pretending that he was dying. Although Holden
was slightly affected emotionally by this incident, he didn t care much
at all about it, and let his injuries take care of themselves.
When Holden was first expelled from Pencey, he paid a final
visit to his favorite teacher, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer s attitude was
caring at first, but he began to scold Holden about his grades. You
knew absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing, he repeated several
times. He even had the indecency to read Holden his own paper, the
one in which Holden knew absolutely no idea about the subject. He
makes a mockery of Holden and his work, and completely destroys
any self-pride that Holden may have. Mr. Spencer was very
insensitive with his words, implying that Holden needed to grow up
and move on in his life. These words may have been part of what
eventually caused Holden s emotional breakdown, the feeling that he
was lacking in life.
The reader is able to interpret through Holden s thoughts and
actions that the physical blows meant little to Holden, while the
emotional blows meant much more. He was able to basically ignore
his injuries, but could not possibly take the emotional pain out of his
head. Even when he didn t think about it, it was always there
subconsciously, proving that a blow from the tongue smashes bones,
while a blow from a whip only raises a welt.
** denotes the Biblical quote found in Sirach 28:17