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In The Catcher in the Rye, is the main character Holden Caufield an antihero?

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kennnnna | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM via web

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In The Catcher in the Rye, is the main character Holden Caufield an antihero?

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 22, 2011 at 11:29 PM (Answer #1)

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Literary terms dictionaries define an antihero as "a protagonist who is a non-hero or the anti-thesis of a traditional hero."  Generally speaking, a hero protagonist would be intelligent, strong, courageous, and independent.  It is quite clear that Holden does not encompass these qualities; he is more of a lazy, dependent, unlucky character who would never be considered a hero or role model in any sense of the term.  Since Holden does have so many internal and external forces that are countering his character, it does seem, however, that he is the novel's protagonist.  Linking all of these elements together, it does seem that Holden is an antihero.

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