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Holden Caulfield, the central character of J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, suffers a number of significant disappointments during the course of the narrative. Among those disappointments are the following:
- Holden is forced to leave his latest school because of failing grades.
- Holden’s beloved brother Allie died several years earlier.
- Holden is disappointed with his hotel in New York.
- Holden is disappointed when Faith Cavendish refuses his invitation to meet him.
- Holden is disappointed by many other characters in the novel (such as Lillian Simmons) because he considers them “phoneys.”
- Holden is disappointed by his encounter with the prostitute and by its violent aftermath.
- Holden is disappointed that Sally refuses his invitation to go off with him to New England.
- Holden is disappointed by many aspects of his life. As his younger sister, Phoebe, says to him,
“You don’t like any schools. You don’t like a million things.”
- Holden is disappointed in the behavior of his former English teacher, Mr. Antolini.
Holden, in short, is disappointed with many different aspects of his life, including many of the people in it. Interestingly enough, two characters who fail to disappoint him are two nuns – two of the few characters who do strike Holden as "phoneys." He seems to think that they possess the authenticity that so many other people (perhaps even including Holden himself) appear to lack.
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