In The Catcher in the Rye, what are Holden's personality traits (e.g., judgmental)?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is Holden Caulfield, a teenager who has just flunked out of another prep school and is undergoing treatment for mental health issues. He is from an upper-middle-class professional family, but despite the prosperity of the family, it appears somewhat dysfunctional, in part due to their grieving over the death of Allie Caulfield, Holden's younger brother. Holden describes his parents as emotionally distant.

One obvious aspect of Holden's character is that he is depressed. He appears to be searching for a direction in life but has not really found a sense of purpose.

Another key element of his character is that he is rebellious. He is very much a typical teenager in that rebellion is in part a way of trying to develop his own identity. His failures in school have more to do with rebelliousness than with lack of ability.

Holden is very concerned with authenticity and objects strongly to phoniness. This is, in part, due to his efforts to find...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1017 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team