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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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Student Question

Did Holden truly love and miss his family? Was he considered "dumb" within his family?

Expert Answers

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Judging from his age and circumstance, Holden was not really a bad boy, just a boy who is bad on himself and holds extremely low self esteem. He takes it upon himself to a) create judgment on self and others, and b) create the judgment of others on himself so that he can take control of situations he cannot control, such as his growing up, or his maturity level.

The respect he shows for his younger sister shows a capacity to love. When he describes his brother, although he says that writing for Hollywood has made him a "prostitute", he still gives us a good portrait of him as a very talented man.

On and all, yes. He does have the need to love his family because he is a little kid at heart. A brat, and annoying kid, at that, but I hardly think that Holden would make it in the world without them.

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