What evidence is there in The Catcher in the Rye that Holden is a rebellious individual?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The account that Holden gives us of himself contains many different examples that show he is a rebellious personality, so much so, in fact, that the name Holden Caulfield has become almost synonymous with teenage rebellion and a determination to live one's life outside of the expectation and demands of society. Let us consider one of the first examples we are given in the book, where Holden tells us, almost as an afterthought, that he is being expelled from Pencey, the incredibly elite school where he is studying:

I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out. I wasn't supposed to come back after Christmas vacation, on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all.

As the narrative continues, we realise that this is not the only school that Holden has been expelled from. His rebellious personality is thus indicated through the way that he obviously refuses or is unable to bow to the demands of society and work hard at school to gain academic success. You also might like to think about the way that he sets off on his own personal odyssey doing what he wants to do and his frequent, romantic and impractical, plans to run away and live away from the norms of society.


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