What does Holden think about himself in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye?

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Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, has a remarkably unique perception on his world. Truthfully, Holden's main talent lies in his ability to criticize others. In Holden's viewpoint, most people he encounters are bastards, phonies, morons, liars, and so on. This raises the interesting question as to how Holden views himself.

Holden's hasty criticisms of friends, acquaintances, and strangers often seem wholly misanthropic. His tolerance for negative character traits is practically nonexistent, and he occasionally applies his own high standards to himself.

For one thing, Holden certainly seems aware of his own mental instability. After spontaneously asking an old romantic flame, Sally Hayes, if she wants to get married, he reflects on his impulsive action: "I don't even know why I started that stuff with her . . . I swear to God I'm a madman" (134).

Holden is embarrassed about his academic shortcomings; when confronted by Mr. Spencer about a mediocre essay

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 792 words.)

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