In Holden’s ordinary world, problems in many aspects of his life are filled with demoralizing dilemmas that portray him as a failure in life. One of the first pieces of background information he provides to readers is about the unworthiness of his older brother by saying “Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute” (Salinger, 4). D.B. is living a successful life by making a large amount of money, but Holden fails to see from the point of view of adults because cognitive development in children often results in a self-involved/egocentric period where the person is unable to see in another’s point of view (McLeod, 1). Holden only discerns the “dirty” part of D.B.’s career, and does not realize the upsides of it as a result of his egocentricity. In addition, he states that he “forgot to tell” that he was kicked out of Pencey Prep due to flunking four out of five subjects (Salinger, 6). Another act of ignorance is shown when he fails to see the importance of his academics. This is similar to the author, J.D. Salinger, who attended McBurney School, but did not excel in school. Also, Holden is comparative to Huckleberry Finn, the main character from the novel, ...
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... a tremendous obstacle that controlled his future.
Holden’s academic and life dilemmas pressures him to re-evaluate his life intentions, and he successfully bypasses a huge hindrance by seeking help and making promises using the psychological method of operant conditioning to encourage positive behavior. Although Holden has unorthodox ways of thinking, he experienced similar negativity as other adolescents and he took an unparalleled path to developing his plans for the future. Everyone faces difficult times in life that usually includes difficult choices, and Holden is just a unique case that required more radical steps to be taken. The journey of Holden Caulfield should be used by adolescents as a source of motivation because even a person that is destined for failure in life, like him, can completely change the course of his life by taking some necessary steps.
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