Holden Caulfield

Holden Caulfield is a fictional character, the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Appearance and personality

Physically, Holden is six feet, three inches tall, gangly, and has grey hair. This contributes to Holden, who is 16, appearing to be older than his age, yet his mannerisms and behavior contradict that impression. One of Holden's most striking and quintessential qualities is his powerful revulsion for "phony" human qualities. Qualities such as narcissism, hypocrisy, and superficiality embody Holden's concept of phoniness and Holden is adept at realising these qualities in other people. This serves to bolster Holden's cynicism and consequently contributes to his mistrust of other people. Interestingly, despite Holden's strong disdain for phony qualities, he exhibits some of the qualities that he abhors, thereby making him a somewhat tragic character.

Born into a life of wealth and privilege, Holden looks down upon the elite world he occupies. He questions the values of his class and society and sometimes appears to oppose conventions merely for the sake of opposition.

Origin of Name

The name Holden Caulfield, as shown below, was used in an unpublished short story written in 1942 and first appeared in print in 1945.

In The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield is the narrator and main character of The Catcher in the Rye. The novel recounts the days following Caulfield's expulsion from Pencey Prep, a university preparatory school based loosely on Valley Forge Military Academy, Salinger's alma mater. Caulfield tells his story in cynical and jaded language, often using disparaging language and profanity.

In Other Works

The character, as Holden Caulfield, also appears in Salinger's "Slight Rebellion off Madison", published in the December 22, 1946 issue of The New Yorker. An earlier version of this story, titled "Are You Banging Your Head Against a Wall?" was accepted for publication by The New Yorker in October 1941, but was not published then because editors found the tone to be too desolate for its readership. An edited version of this short story later became the basis of several chapters in the middle-late section of The Catcher in the Rye dealing with Caulfield's date with Sally Hayes, during which he confesses his desire to run away with her, he meets Carl Luce for drinks, and he makes a drunken phone call to the Hayes home. Unlike the similar sequence in the novel, Caulfield is on a Christmas break from school, and, in the story, the interlude with Sally is split into two occurrences. Also, the meeting with Carl Luce is considerably briefer in the story than in the novel.

Caulfield also figures as a character in the short story "I'm Crazy", published in Colliers (December 22, 1945), and other members of the Caulfield family are featured in "Last Day of the Last Furlough", published in The Saturday Evening Post (July 15, 1944) and the unpublished short stories "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" (ca. 1942) and "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" (ca. 1945).

"I'm Crazy" is closely related to what would become the first chapter of The Catcher in the Rye. It begins with Caulfield standing on a hill at "Pentey Prep" watching a football game below, and develops as Holden visits with his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, for a talk about his expulsion from school and his future. Several other details match those found in the first chapter of Catcher, including a reference to the mother of one of Caulfield's schoolmates and to his own mother sending him a gift of ice skates, but the story ends with his returning home instead of running away from school. Once home, he is not shown confronting his parents, who, according to the maid, are playing bridge. Instead, he goes to speak to Phoebe. Their dialogue is similar to what appears in the later chapters of The Catcher in the Rye. Also notable is that sister Viola gets her first, and only, mention in the Caulfield saga.

Caulfield family in other works

"Last Day of the Last Furlough" relates the final day of Babe Gladwaller before he leaves to fight in World War II. Gladwaller spends part of the day with his little sister before Vincent Caulfield (later renamed D.B. in the novel) arrives. At that point Vincent is a fellow soldier about to leave for the war. Vincent announces that his brother, Holden, has been declared missing in action. Gladwaller's relationship with his younger sister can be seen as a parallel to Caulfield's relationship with Phoebe.

"The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" relates the story of Vincent's (D.B.) draft questionnaire being hidden by his mother. The events occur just after the death of Kenneth (later renamed Allie) and reveal the anxiety of Mary Moriarity, an actress and Caulfield's mother. The story is notable for the appearance of Phoebe and Vincent's statements about a child crawling off a cliff.

"The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" is told by Vincent (D.B.) and relates the final day of Kenneth (Allie). The story, set at the Caulfield summer home on Cape Cod, is a reminiscence on the part of Vincent. Caulfield is away at camp on what will be Kenneth's final day. Several details make their way from this story into Catcher, including the characterization of Allie; Allie's poetry-inscribed left-handed baseball mitt; Vincent's girlfriend, Helen, who keeps her kings in the back row (like Jane Gallagher); and Caulfield's critical view of others. Unlike Allie, who he says died of leukemia, Kenneth is described as having an unspecified heart condition. As the story nears its end, Kenneth and Vincent are on the beach. Kenneth decides to go swimming and is overcome by a wave. Vincent races home with Kenneth's unconscious body and Kenneth dies later that night. Holden is waiting on the porch with his suitcases when Vincent arrives with Kenneth's body. This story was reportedly sold to a magazine only to be taken back by Salinger before publication.

Another short story of note with relationship to Caulfield is "The Boy in the People Shooting Hat" which was submitted to The New Yorker sometime between 1948 and 1949 but was not published. It focuses on a fight between two characters named Bobby and Stradlater over Bobby's feelings about Jane Gallagher. This story likely forms the basis for several key scenes in the first several chapters of The Catcher in the Rye.

Cultural impact

Holden Caulfield is one of the most enduring characters in 20th century American fiction.
  • The Catcher in the Rye is required reading in many high school English courses today, although it has been banned from some school libraries by parent and teacher groups opposed to its use of profanity and perceived glorification of rebellion.
  • Holden was influential in the lives of, among others, Mark David Chapman[1], the former mental patient who murdered John Lennon in 1980. Chapman occasionally considered Lennon a "phony", akin to Holden's accusations, and had reenacted prominent events in the novel.

Quotations

"The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it." — Original jacket copy (Salinger?)[2]

Popular culture references

  • Jake Gyllenhaal's character in the 2002 film The Good Girl lives his life by The Catcher in the Rye, to the point that he refers to himself as "Holden".
  • Timothy Hutton's character in the film Ordinary People is influenced by Holden Caulfield.
  • Rockstar Games used The Catcher in the Rye as an inspiration to set up the boarding school environment for the game Bully. The main protagonist of the game, Jimmy Hopkins, calls his stepfather a phony at the beginning of the game, most likely as an homage to Holden Caulfield.
  • Holden is referenced in the Japanese anime series multiple times. The central crime investigated by the characters in the series centers around a young man who is attempting to expose the "phonies" of the current government before fading into the background as a "deaf-mute". His appearance and virtual logo also references Salinger's work The Laughing Man.
  • Green Day's album Kerplunk features a song entitled "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?"
  • Chasing Amy's main character is called Holden McNeil, with the name "Holden" taken from Holden Caulfield.
  • Mel Gibson's character in Conspiracy Theory has an obsession with the book, a whole bookshelf of his messy flat filled with compulsory purchases of the book which, ironically, he has never read.
  • There is a band from West Virginia named after the character.
  • Screeching Weasel's album How To Make Enemies And Irritate People features a song entitled "I Wrote Holden Caulfield" (Also a reference to the aforementioned Green Day song)

External links

Salinger's uncollected short stories
  • Slight Rebellion off Madison.
  • In Japan, most of the short stories are already translated into Japanese (compiled in two volumes) and still commercially available with the approval of Salinger's agents (ISBN 4-7521-0001-0 / ISBN 4-7521-0002-9). Even Hapworth 16, 1924 is available (ISBN 4-7521-0004-5).
Fan sites

Footnotes

fictional character is any person, persona, identity, or entity whose existence originates from a work of fiction. The process of creating and developing characters in a work of fiction is called characterization.
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''For the 2007 documentary film, see Protagonist (film)
A protagonist is a term used to refer to a figure or figures in literature whose intentions are the primary focus of a story.
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J. D. Salinger

Salinger in 1953.
Born: January 1 1919 (1919--) (age 88)
Manhattan, New York
Occupation: Novelist and writer
Writing period: 1940-1965
Debut works:
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worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.

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Cynicism (Greek: Kυνισμός) was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes.
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Wealth from the old English word "weal", which means "well-being" or "welfare". The term was originally an adjective to describe the possession of such qualities.
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Elite (also spelled Élite) is taken from the Latin, eligere, "to elect". In sociology as in general usage, the élite is a relatively small dominant group within a larger society, which enjoys a privileged status which is upheld by individuals of lower social status
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CLASS can refer to:
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  • Canadian Land Surface Scheme, for use in large scale climate models
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The Valley Forge Military Academy is a boarding school for young men grades seven through twelve, and additionally offers a co-ed 2 year junior college program. The academy is located in the Pennsylvania Main Line suburb of Wayne in Radnor Township, USA (outside of Philadelphia).
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"Slight Rebellion off Madison" is a short story written by J. D. Salinger for the December 22, 1946 issue of The New Yorker. It was to become the basis for his famous novel The Catcher in the Rye, which contains a modified version of Slight Rebellion off Madison
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December 22 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1910s  1920s  1930s  - 1940s -  1950s  1960s  1970s
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Year 1646 (MCMXLVI
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The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, criticism, essays, cartoons, poetry and fiction. Originally a weekly, the magazine is now published 47 times per year with five (usually more expansive) issues covering two-week spans.
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The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, criticism, essays, cartoons, poetry and fiction. Originally a weekly, the magazine is now published 47 times per year with five (usually more expansive) issues covering two-week spans.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1910s  1920s  1930s  - 1940s -  1950s  1960s  1970s
1938 1939 1940 - 1941 - 1942 1943 1944

Year 1941 (MCMXLI
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The short story is a literary genre. It is usually fictional narrative prose and tends to be more concise and to the point than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the modern sense of this term) and novels.
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Christianity

Foundations
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December 22 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.
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The Saturday Evening Post was a weekly magazine published in the United States from August 4, 1821 to February 8, 1969. From 1897, it was published by Curtis Publishing Company.
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July 15 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

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Allied powers:
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...et al. Axis powers:
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...et al.
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Conscription is a general term for involuntary labor demanded by some established authority, but it is most often used in the specific sense of government policies that require citizens (often just males) to serve in their armed forces.
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Cape Cod (or simply the Cape) is an arm-shaped peninsula nearly coextensive with Barnstable County, Massachusetts and forming the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States.
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Leukemia
Classification & external resources

A Wright's stained bone marrow aspirate smear of patient with precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
ICD-10 C 91. -C 95.
ICD-9 208.
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twentieth century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000, according to the Gregorian calendar. Some historians consider the era from about 1914 to 1991 to be the Short Twentieth Century.
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