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The Influences Of Holden’s Life In The Book Catcher In The Rye

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Do people ever influence other people’s lives by doing a certain thing to affect them? Well in the Catcher In The Rye, Allie, Phoebe, and Jane Gallagher, have all affected Holden in someway throughout this book. They have affected him in good and bad ways that have changed him and how he feels. Holden goes through different changes and feelings on his journey because of something someone did or said to him. J. D. Salinger is the author of The Catcher in the Rye, he published it July 16th, 1951 when he was 32 years old. Those 3 people will be explained throughout this story about how they influenced Holden. They have done some certain thing to make Holden the way he is or an action he has done, each of their stories will be told. J.D. uses powerful language and fully expressed feelings to prove that Holden was affected by the influence of those 3 people.

Particularly, Jane Gallagher is the person on Holden’s mind every day throughout his life. This girl was all Holden thought about all day long. He always thought about her and when Stradlater brought her up he wanted to say hi to her, but he could never bring himself to do it. This is because she affected Holden’s feelings on her and he was too nervous to even go near her . As an example, Holden stated about Jane to Stadlater that, “Ballet and all. She used to practice about two hours every day, right in the middle of the hottest weather and all. She was worried she might make her legs lousy- all thick and all. I used to play checkers with her all the time”(31). Holden said this because Stratlater, his roommate, asked him to write a composition for him while he is on a date. Of course, Holden asks who his date is and he tells him it is Jane Gallagher, Holden is very shocked to hear that. Holden ends up going on and on about how he knows Jane and tells Stralater all these stories about her even though he was not interested in hearing them. As Holden was walking, he thought to himself, “all of the sudden, on my way out of the lobby, I got old Jane Gallagher on the brain. I got her on and I couldn’t get her off”(76). Wherever Holden went, Jane was on his mind and whatever he did, he thought of her. He kept wanting to give her a buzz and hang out with her but he never dared to do it. He keeps telling stories about him and Jane all the time, she will not leave his mind. Jane Gallagher has been a big part of Holden’s life, whenever he thinks about a girl it always leads back to Jane.

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On the other hand, Holden had a younger brother named Allie, he passed away a while back. Holden was so upset about his death it made him extremely depressed and angered. When Holden found out Allie passed away, he punched out a bunch of windows causing him to break his hand. He did not know how to control his feelings, it took a huge toll over his life. As Holden thought about Allie, he thought to himself, “I slept in the garage the night he died ...I'll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie”(39). Allie’s death made Holden upset and broken, he didn't know what to do. Holden didn't realize the things he was doing that night, he punched out windows and slept on the floor in the garage. He was too depressed to do anything. he couldn't move or speak, he was broken. Another time Holden thought about Allie, is when he was talking to Phoebe and said, “I know he’s dead! Don’t you think I know that! I can still like him, though can't I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t stop liking them for God’s sake”(171). Phoebe asks Holden what he likes and he said he likes Allie. She says that you can not like a dead person and Holden gets incredibly upset because Allie was so important to him. Holden will always love Allie and be upset about his death, he thinks about him all the time. Allie affects Holden’s everyday life because of his death, he misses all the fun times they had together and he just wants him back.

Furthermore, the person Holden cares about the most is Phoebe, his little sister that means the world to him. Phoebe is a great person in Holden’s eyes and he loves her so much, he thinks she is smart and he would do anything for her. He cares for her a lot and he would do anything to make her happy. When Holden was thinking about her, he says that “you’d like her. I mean if you tell old Phoebe something, she knows exactly what the hell you’re talking about. I mean you can take her anywhere with you”(67). Holden thinks so highly of Phoebe, he thinks she is kind of like a mini adult. She is an astonishingly smart girl that knows everything, she loves to join into conversations even when she does not know what they're talking about. Holden thinks she is pretty mature for her age because she knows things most kids don't. Holden was talking to Phoebe and snaps at her saying “you can’t take anything. Because you’re not going. I’m going alone. So shut up”(206). Holden decided he wanted to leave everyone, but he needed to say goodbye to Phoebe before he left. He leaves her a note to meet him so they can talk and she shows up with a suitcase which upsets Holden. He does not want Phoebe to go with him but she refuses to leave him so Holden decides to stay for her. Phoebe affects Holden because her emotions change how Holden feels about things because of how much he cares and respects her.

Overall, powerful language and fully expressed feelings were used by the author to prove Holden was affected by Allie, Phoebe, and Jane. Those 3 people have influenced Holden. Allie made Holden upset and angered when he passed away but later on the thought of him made Holden happy, Phoebe affects Holden’s decisions on things because he cares so deeply about how she feels, and he probably knows she is right because she is so smart. Lastly, Jane has influenced Holden’s every thought on women, he compares girls to her and most of his thoughts are about Jane and how amazing she was. They all have occupied his mind equally throughout his life and certain things. Each one of them has affected him greatly no matter how big or small it was. The things people do or say to other people do influence them in negative or positive ways, it can change what they think of something or affect an action.

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The Influences Of Holden’s Life In The Book Catcher In The Rye. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
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