In what way does Holden Caulfield seem confident and independent in "The Catcher in the Rye"?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Holden Caufield, in The Catcher in the Rye, seems very independent. There are multiple examples from the text which support this.

First, Holden decides that it would be best for the letter of expellment to reach home before he returns to his parents'.  He knows that it will be better for all parties if he returns after.  This interpretation could be argued given that he could be seen as taking the easy way out, but for me, I have come to believe that this is leans more towards his ability to be independent.

Second, Holden decides to go to New York to kill time before returning home. He is young- 15. For a fifteen year old to travel to New York and stay for a few days supports his ability to prove his independence and confidence.

Third, Holden seems to know what he wants. For a man of such a young age, Holden makes decisions about people and ideas that are far beyond the typical teenager of his age.

Lastly, Holden truly worries about Phoebe. His confidence in his decisions to run away are hastened by his concern for his sister. Again, this shows his confidence in his decisions.

Again, some may argue that Holden is not confidant or independent. Some may see him as irresponsible and self-conscious. This depends on individual interpretations of his character.

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