In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, why does Holden yearn to talk to certain authors?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden Caulfield is a 16 year-old boy who goes to preparatory schools. His brother D.B. is a writer out in Hollywood, which Holden thinks is horrible because he feels his brother is better than that. D.B., though, gave Holden some books to read before he left to work in California and he really liked them. As the reader gets to know Holden more, he turns out to be fairly well-read for a high school boy. Since Holden is familiar with many different books, classics mostly, he has developed opinions about writers. Because Holden doesn't appreciate movies or the actors of his day, he views authors like celebrities. He describes his feelings as follows:

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. I wouldn't mind calling this Isak Dinesen up" (18).

Hence, as he reads a book, he develops a connection to the author, which is not unlike many kids who find a connection with a singer or actor. This shows us that Holden connects to humans in an arbitrary way through reading. Sadly, he has a little bit tougher time connecting with humans in reality.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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