Catcher and the Rye

A Body Catch A Body Coming Through The Rye
In the Novel, The Cather and the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden Caulfield wants to be a ???catcher.??? His dream is to be the only big person around in a rye field on a cliff and save children playing in the rye field from falling off the cliff. A person who strives for this occupation would seem to be mature, calm and responsible. However, Holden is none of these, he is the opposite. Holden fears the responsibility that comes with growing up, alienates himself for self-protection, and is frustrated with the phoniness of the adult world. Holden??™s emotions seem to be extreme, but these same feelings are portrayed in many songs, including ???Dream On??? by Aerosmith, ???Complicated??? by Avril Lavigne and ???Teenagers??? by My Chemical Romance.
Holden runs from the responsibility that comes with growing up. Resisting change is his main goal. This becomes clear in the Natural History Museum, when Holden longs for the world to be easy to understand and unchanging like the Indians and Eskimos in the exhibit. Holden tries to hide his fear but shows his concern when he says, ???sex is something I just don??™t do, I swear to God I don??™t.???(Pg. 63). Holden fantasizes about a world of childhood innocence without the complexities and responsibilities that come with adulthood. Holden cannot handle the responsibilities that come with most adult behaviors. This same concept of dreading growing up is demonstrated in the song, ???Dream On??? by Aerosmith. ???Everytime we look in the mirror these lines on our face get clearer,???(Dream On-Aerosmith). Aerosmith illustrates unwillingness to grow up and the burdens of the adult world. Similar to Holden, they seem to be pining for an unchanging world like in the Natural History Museum.
Holden seems to be victimized by the world around him but in reality he separates himself from everyone. For example, he appears to wear his red hunting hat as a symbol of uniqueness but he is really alienating himself from his peers. Holden??™s isolation gives him an excuse to think he is better then everyone; his superiority serves as his self-protection from human interactions. ???I stood up to say goodbye to them and mistakenly blew smoke in their face.???(pg 113). All human interactions Holden has throughout the story are awkward and seem to confuse and overwhelm him. He is constantly trying to avoid them by isolating himself from everyone. The song ???Teenager??? by My Chemical Romance describes a teenager who doesn??™t fit the mold of a typical student, ???your never gunna fit in much kid.???(Teenager-My Chemical Romance). This is parallel to Holden, who isn??™t the cookie cutter teenager. He feels he is isolated by the world but in reality he separates himself. As he explains to Mr. Spencer, he feels trapped on the other side of life, and he continually attempts to find his way in a world in which he feels he doesn??™t belong.
According to Webster??™s Dictionary, ???Phony??? is defined as an insincere, pretentious or deceitful person. To Holden, phoniness is the symbol for all things wrong in the world. ???Your actin like your somebody else gets me frustrated,???(Complicated-Avril Lavigne) the song ???Complicated??? by Avril Lavigne illustrates the frustration teenagers have with the superficialness in adults. For example in chapter twenty-two Holden complains that adults are inevitably phonies, but at least adults are aware of their own phoniness. Holden spends much of his time searching for the phoniness in other people and fails to recognize the same characteristic in himself. His blatant phoniness became obvious in chapter three, ???I??™m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life.???(Pg 16). His lies are usually pointless and spiteful, like when he lied to Ms. Marrow about her bastard of a son, telling Ms. Marrow her son is a great guy. Holden wants his audience to believe he is the figurehead of goodness when everyone around him is a fake but even Holden Caulfield could not meet the high standards at which he judges the world.
Alienation as a form of self-protection, frustration with the Adult world and fear of the responsibility that comes with growing up are all common teenage feelings. J.D. Salinger displays these emotions in the character Holden Caulfield. These feelings are depicted in a novel based in 1951, as well as modern music. A young boy singing the song, ???If a Body Catch a Body Coming Through the Rye,??? by Robert Burns may have inspired Holden but his emotions are more closely to the songs, ???Dream On??? by Aerosmith, ???Teenager??? by My Chemical Romance and ???Complicated??? by Avril Lavigne.