Main Conflicts In “The Catcher In The Rye” By J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye was a novel written by J.D Slinger. The novel’s protagonist is a young man struggling with various issues in his adolescence. Holden Caulfield, aged 16, was the name of the young man. For the fourth time, he had been kicked out of class. Salinger uses symbolism to convey Holden’s emotions and thoughts, providing a vivid portrait of the character (Salinger). Salinger does this because Holden, being immature, is unable to evaluate himself and also so that his audience can better grasp his ideas. Holden has made it through many trials and tribulations (Nur). Despite his claims of depression, his actions provide insight into his inner state and the priorities in his life. Holden’s feelings can be understood through three symbols: his red hunting hat, the ducks in the lagoon, and Allie’s baseball mitt. The three icons represent Holden’s anxieties about becoming a fake grownup and losing his innocence. This essay will discuss all the internal and external conflicts that the main character experiences in The Catcher in the Rye.

The story depicts both the external and the internal conflicts that the protagonist faces. Holden’s fight with his thinking is an example of an internal conflict that might be noticed. It was a struggle for him to get through each day. It seemed as though his thoughts were working against him. His sexual thoughts and his childlike personality were opposed to one another. Because of comments made about him when he was younger that would never go away, he gained much less self-assurance to interact with people in society. He did not feel at ease in the current situation. Everything and everyone that comes to Holden’s attention is a Phony in his eyes (Bozorova et al. 215). When he interacts with others who are not like him, this causes him to experience conflict on the outside. He makes it his mission to persuade and inspire the people he knows who are established in their adult lives to maintain a connection to their younger selves. He has the desire to regress to his younger self.

The Catcher in the Rye is a novel dominated by conflict, mainly internal to the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield. He has been expelled from multiple elite schools, the most recent being Pencey Prep. After his brother Allie’s passing, he began considering ending his life. Fear that Central Park’s ducks, like his brother’s, may mysteriously vanish and leave no trace. While still relatively young, Holden has endured more emotional suffering than most people in a lifetime (Bozorova et al. 210). Holden drinks heavily and acts like he has a thriving sex life, but this is all an act. Holden spends all of his time drinking and smoking. Everywhere he goes, he orders a beer to make himself appear older, but the drink only serves to deepen the despair he already feels. He is lonely due to his depression and hopelessness, and he refuses to reach out to others because of these feelings. Of course, there are a lot of other things that contribute to Holden’s sadness and suicidal tendencies.

He is hypocritical, another internal conflict, although he is unaware of his hypocrisy. Holden is quick to label others as phonies, although he is one himself. Another of Holden’s hypocritical tendencies is that he despises how others judge others based on their material possessions. Yet, he is guilty of doing the very same thing, judging other people based on their material belongings (Mohammadi). In addition, he acts as if he does not care what other people think of him, although, deep down, he does care what other people think of him. The fact that although he despises individuals who act all high and might like Stradlater, he attempts to act in the same manner. Even though he probably won’t get away with it, he nonetheless makes an effort to act like an influential figure.

The main character in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, presents many other internal problems or conflicts. Consequently, he cannot find a solution to those conflicts. The struggle that Holden has within himself serves as the primary conflict in the book. Holden’s internal difficulties or conflicts are portrayed by the author, J.D. Salinger, over the entirety of the novel through Holden’s experiences and relationships with other people in Pencey Prep and New York. Holden’s issues stem from the loss of his girlfriend Allie, his addiction to smoking and drinking, and his poor academic performance (Putri). Holden’s reluctance to come to terms with Allie’s passing is one issue that resides deep within him. Holden’s younger brother, Allie, passed away three years ago due to complications arising from leukemia. Because Holden and Allie were so close to one another, the news of Allie’s passing came as a great shock to Holden. Holden chose to sleep in the garage on the day that Allie passed away, which ultimately led to him shattering all of the windows in the house.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, is a defiant and angst-ridden adolescent suffering from external conflict. Holden does not try to conceal his desire to create a conflict where none exists. Despite this, after he has created these problems, he is unwilling to face them head-on (Oksala). Holden’s internal struggle is that he cannot take responsibility for his acts, and his exterior struggle is the friction between him and everyone else who is successful. Holden consistently drives people away in this way and, until the very end of the book, stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the existence of the conflicts that he has caused.

Holden Caulfield provides the reader with an introduction to himself as a particular type of person right at the beginning of the book. He will typically continue discussing characteristics he develops while avoiding discussing others he has acquired. Holden Caulfield can be understood better by paying attention to how he repeatedly discusses the time when he was expelled from a strict prep school. He mentions it when he says that he failed to inform the reader about how he was kicked out and how he was not supposed to go back after the holiday for Christmas. He says that he was not supposed to go back after the vacation for Christmas (Bozorova et al. 215). He claims that he was failing classes, which amounted to four, and completing the application independently. He continues to assert that he was cautioned to fill out the application independently, but he did not do so either. He says that he did not do so because he did not do it.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, has difficulty figuring out where he belongs in the world when the story first begins. As a result, he does not care about his health; nevertheless, as the image associated with this assignment demonstrates, he genuinely cares about his younger sister Allie, who passed away due to leukemia. Holden has a soft spot for the children who are just having fun in the rye field and aspires to be a “catcher in the rye,” although he is not referring to a position in the sport of baseball (Nur). The children in the book playing in the rye field represent youth and innocence, whilst the cliff in the background depicts the complex reality of growing up and becoming an adult. In his role as the “catcher in the rye,” he would play the role of a barrier to prevent these children from “going over the end” too quickly and protect their innocence, although he had not been preserved.

Holden demonstrates that he possesses the quality of having animosity toward everything he encounters. He makes this point clear in the book by stating that there is a world that he despises intensely and that because it is fake, he has the need to throw up every time he hears about it. He claims that he was compelled to leave Ekton Hill because he was amid phonies, which is why. Holden calls the headmaster of the school he attended, known as Hans, an old Thurmer and the phoniest bastard. Holden describes the headmaster as being in the school (Mohammadi). According to him, the headmaster would engage in conversation with parents, then return to them later to fake a grin, and finally, he would shake the hand of another parent. Holden had the impression that he was sinking into a deep depression as a result of this, and as a result, she went completely insane.

Holden also possessed the quality of being a compulsive liar, another one of his changeable characteristics. In the account, he even makes the admission himself. He said he was the greatest liar ever living on earth. He claimed that if somebody asked him whether he was going to buy a magazine in the store, he would respond that he was going to the opera to deflect the question (Mohammadi). In addition, he says that he had lied to Spencer, telling him that he was heading to the gym to grab his gear and equipment, but in reality, he did not even store his equipment in the gym. In addition, he lies when riding a train to New York and begins a conversation with a woman named Mrs. Morrow. He says that they are traveling together, although they are not.

In conclusion, human beings undergo a change at some point, which will take some time. Holden Caulfield, the primary character in The Catcher in the Rye, goes through enormous internal and external conflicts and transformations, the most significant of which is gaining freedom from both his parents and school. A relatively short amount of time is required for the modifications. Holden’s behavior changes, therefore, becoming less of a compulsive liar and more responsible for his actions. He is appalled by everything fake as a result of this.

Works Cited

Mohammadi, Ali. “Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and the Crisis of Coming of Age: An Inevitably Fearful Move toward Growth.” International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), vol. 9, no. 8.

Bozorova, Muzaffarovna Viloyat, and Maqsudova Mohigul Usmonovna. “Alienation as a Form of Self-protection; the Painfulness of Growing Up in the Book” the Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger.” International Journal on Integrated Education vol. 4, no. 3, 2021: pp 189-192.

Nur, Fauziah. An Analysis of Deixis Found in the Catcher in the Rye Novel by Jd Salinger. Diss. Uin Raden Intan Lampung, 2022.

Oksala, Ville. Alienation and Societal Criticism in the Catcher in the Rye and American Psycho. 2021.

Putri, Nurindah Dwi Rahma. Inner Conflict of the Main Character: Caulfield in Jd Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Diss. Universitas Hasanuddin, 2020.

Salinger, J. D. “The Catcher in the Rye, ed.” Sang-yong Park (Seoul: Shinasa, 2001), 1951: 43.