Happy Holden’s need to protect, and realization that
Happy endings offered throughout novels are results of spiritual reassessments or moreal reconciliation of specific characters. Considered as a more relaxed novel, Catcher in the Rye catches the spirit of the reader with its moral reconcilliation, defining the book’s meaning as a whole. Holden Caufield serves as the protagonist in the novel by J.D.Salinger, Catcher in the Rye.
Holden trudges through the book lonely, making assumptions of everyone’s characters. Every character in this novel according to Holden is a “phony.” However, this poses the questions, “what defines a phony in Caulfield’s mind, and what exactly is Salinger trying to get across to us, as the reader?” Holden’s representation of the complex teenage mind allows an insight of how an average 15-17 year old thinks.
Holden is troubled by the perplexed ways society is working around him. Take for example, his obsession with the ducks in the pond, and his constant worry for them, and constant want to protect them. What is this telling us? Holden doesn’t like the way society works, and wants to be the “catcher in the rye,” protecting society’s children from it’s evilness and corruption, keeping them safe. Holden has an ephiphany during the novel as he passes the elementary school halls and notices the obscenities scribbled on the walls. His attempt to efface them is unsuccessful, and he realizes that he can’t make them go away.
This symbolizes Holden’s need to protect, and realization that he can’t be the savior of society’s corruption. Although the scene in the elementary school halls hint to Holden that he can’t make the imperfections of the world disappear, nothing provides the determining insight better than his little sister, Phoebe. Upon his departure, Holden giving up, as he always does, Phoebe makes him realize what it is he is really giving up.
He isn’t giving up on anything besides himself by running away and trying to disappear. Phoebe proposes to Holden that he cannot change the world, and he has to stop giving up on himself whenever he does not succeed at his impossible tasks. Phoebe is one of the only things in the world that truly mean something to Holden, and when he sees that he has let her down, the climax is hit in the novel; Holden decides to say home.
Phoebe is Holden’s crutch, and provides him with the realization that he can’t be the catcher in the rye to society. This moral reconciliation, leading to a happy ending, allows Salinger to receive a lasting response from his readers; and his readers a lasting image from Holden.