Does Holden sacrifice anything to be a part of the society in "The Catcher in the Rye"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden begins telling the reader his story from the confines of a mental institution.  So, technically, he has surrendered his freedom, by way of being locked up in an institution, to be part of society.

"D.B. he's my brother and all, he's in Hollywood, which isn't too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits.  He's going to drive me home when I go home next month, maybe." (Salinger, p. 1) 

Holden does not want to sacrifice his identity to society.  He is determined to hold onto his individuality.  He sees all adults as phonies, he sees his school and all his classmates as phonies, especially those who participate in the sporting events.

He can't seem to find a place to belong.  This refusal to participate isolates him to the degree that it causes him to have a mental breakdown.  And it results in his hospitalization.

"The novel is the recollection of three depressing days in Holden's life when his accumulated anger and frustration converge to create a life crisis. The events of this long weekend eventually propel him to a hospital where he is treated for both physical and mental disorders."

Holden is a complex character, once he is released from the hospital, the reader is left to speculate whether the rebellious protagonist has found a way to integrate himself into a society that he feels does not understand him.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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