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What is Holden Caulfield's attitude towards girls on The Catcher in the Rye?

I was very interested in the topic, relationships between boys and girls, because, generally, the relationship between boys and girls has been significantly changed through history. Some people expect boys to be a certain way around girls, and girls are expected to be a certain way around boys. Throughout the story the way the boy characters act towards girls reflects the way they were raised. Especially since the movie is based in the 1950’s, most of the girl characters were almost the same, very independent and shrewd.

I came up with these questions: How do boys interact, and act when they are around girls? And vice versa, how do girls interact and act when they are around boys?

In addition, the main character, Holden Caulfield who is a 16-year-old boy, goes through a journey from Pennsylvania to New York, when he decides to leave his high school, Pency Prep. You see in the beginning how he treats other people, he’s very hostile towards others and likes to call people “phonies”, or “jerks”.

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He is a lost, confused and immature teenage boy. For instance, he is always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody he is not at all glad to have met, and that “if you want to stay alive you have to say that stuff” (Salinger 52). This shows how egotistical and hypocritical he is, and what you will see later on, on how he treats the woman he encounters.

The first “girl” that Holden encounters in the book is when he sees that his roommate, Stradlater, going on a date with a girl that he realizes is he once spent a whole summer with.

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Her name is Jane Gallagher, she is one of the few girls in the book that Holden respects and finds attractive. He treats his sister different also, he loves her a lot and likes to hang out with her throughout the story.

When Holden interacts with women in the novel, he is very different than when he interacts with men. The women characters in the book all are very important because they represent and symbolize many different things. He is very nice to younger female characters but to older females he gets sexually attracted to. When this happens, he will do anything to get the woman’s attentions, which leads to him being an extremely disrespectful and impolite teenager who is very immature. In general Holden tries to be nice to people of the opposite sex and wants to create friendships but his immaturity makes him think of woman as objects and his disrespect towards others will not help him get through his life.

Holden is very niece to older women such as the nuns, Ernie’s mother and also Faith Cavendish. He referred Ernie’s mother as having “lots of sex appeal” (Salinger 49). However, he is so kind because he is sexually attracted to them and this will cause him to lie so that he can impress the person. At one point he calls a prostitute to his room, but he feels sorry for her because of how young she was and that is she were a “big old prostitute” – she wouldn’t have been half as spooky (Salinger 88).

In conclusion, Holden treats certain woman with respect, but is always screwing it up with them afterwards. Even though he never did call up one of the girls he had history with, Jane Gallagher he met up with multiple other girls, or women. Holden was an egotistical person that was a hypocrite, he called his roommate Stradlater a slob for trying to get physical with Jane, but throughout the story he did the same.

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What is Holden Caulfield's attitude towards girls on The Catcher in the Rye?. (2019, Nov 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-is-holden-caulfields-attitude-towards-girls-on-the-catcher-in-the-rye-essay

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