October 29, 2013
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger, Holden acts very careless. Holden forgets the fencing team’s foils on the subway. He tries to make up for this by telling the reader “It wasn’t all my fault. I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we’d know where to get off”(3). This gives the reader a clear indication of Holden’s attitude right at the beginning of the story. The phrases “wasn’t all my fault” and “I had to keep getting up” make it sound as though Holden is trying to cover up for himself, and make an excuse. This proves Holden’s carelessness and immaturity because he isn’t willing to accept the blame for his own mistake. Holden is not only immature, but he also shows a lack of determination within the first chapter. Holden says “They gave me frequent warning to start applying myself- especially around midterms, when my parents came up for a conference with old Thurmer- but I didn’t do it”(4). The phrase “but I didn’t do it” stands out to me as the clear indicator that Holden has no motivation or reason at all to put in any effort at Pencey Prep. He simply states that he didn’t try and doesn’t have any qualms about it. This quote shows Holden’s true lack of determination and lazy attitude towards his school. Holden shows the reader that he is immature and lazy in the first chapter. It’s possible that J.D. Salinger might have introduced the reader to this troubled teenager to show how Holden changes throughout the rest of the story.