Journal Entry, Catcher in the Rye- first half
Holden Caulfield is troubled. During our discussions my group came up with the idea that maybe Holden is afraid to grow up and become an adult. There are many quotes from the book that uphold this theory. Holden is afraid of something in growing up and as a result tends to act childish. Even though he was 6 foot 4 inches tall and with gray hair, Holden says "I act quite young for my age sometimes.... like I was only about twelve.(page 9)"
There are many times that Holden reflects his memories of his childhood. His memories include his brothers Allie and D.B., Jane, and sister Phoebe. It isn't a coincidence that all of his shared memories are from his childhood. Holden just wants to return to what he felt was a better time in his life. For instance, Holden talks about his brother D.B.'s "terrific book of short stories...(page 1)" and how "my (Holden's) favorite author is my (Holden's) brother D.B.(page 19)" Now Holden's sore about D.B.'s job saying "Now he's out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute.(page 2)" D.B. writes for movies and D.B. feels he is selling out his talent in a bad way which is why he called him "a prostitute." "If there's one thing I hate, it's the movies.(page2)" Holden can't accept the fact that his brother moved on to a better job. He is still living in his childhood when D.B wrote short stories. D.B. is growing up and Holden doesn't want to grow up with him.
Holden's memories of Allie are different. Holden let his younger brother go with him if he wanted to, but one time he didn't let his brother go with him. Now Allie is dead and Holden regrets taking Allie with him to his friend Bobby's house. He would many times talk out loud saying "Okay. Go home and get your bike and meet me in front of Bobby's house. Hurry up.(page 99)" Holden realizes that he can't change the past and realizes that he is growing up. This makes him depressed. The reason Holden hangs out with his sister so much is that he regrets taking D.B. with him to Bobby's house that one day and doesn't want it to happen with Phoebe as well.
Holden's obsession with Jane seems to be that he was happy then when he was with her. "All you knew was, you were happy (with Jane).(page79)" Holden's relationship with Jane was when he was younger and he feels that that time was a much better one for him. This is why he continues to bring up these memories of Jane.
"Since 1888 we (Pencey Prep) have been molding boys into splendid, clear thinking young men.(page 2)" This may be one of the reasons that Holden did so poorly at Pencey. It was because he wasn't ready to be a man. He was still trying to act like he was a boy though which is probably one of the largest struggles Holden will have to face in this book.