What are Holden's struggles in the book Catcher in the Rye?

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dkrupp87 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Holden struggles are with relationships, both with people and with himself. When we look at other people, the struggle with relationships is evident through his interactions with his roommate when he says he is going on a date with Jane Gallagher. 

"Jane Gallagher. Jesus. I couldn’t get her off my mind. I really couldn’t. I oughta go down and say hello to her, at least.”

Holden has a clear interest in Jane, but he cannot bring himself to go down and say hello to her. Throughout the rest of the story his interest in Jane is clear, yet he cannot bring himself to ever call her.

He also struggles with family and class expectations. Growing up in an upper-middle class family, both his family and his economic class expect him to succeed at a prestigious prep school and then go on to attend an ivy league college. This scares Holden so he plans spontaneous fantasies that will not work, like running away with Sally (which scares her) and running west to live with a deaf mute. 

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