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Analysis of Holden Caufield

  • Date Submitted: 04/06/2014 05:21 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.8 
  • Words: 423
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The character, as Holden Morrisey Caulfield, also appears in Salinger's "Slight Rebellion off Madison", published in the December 21, 1946 issue of The New Yorker. An earlier version of this story, titled "Are You Banging Your Head Against a Wall?" was accepted for publication by The New Yorker in October 1941, but was not published then because editors found the tone to be too desolate for its readership. An edited version of this short story later became the basis of several chapters in the middle-late section of The Catcher in the Rye dealing with Caulfield's date with Sally Hayes, during which he confesses his desire to run away with her, he meets Carl Luce for drinks, and he makes a drunken phone call to the Hayes home. Unlike the similar sequence in the novel, Caulfield is on a Christmas break from school, and, in the story, the interlude with Sally is split into two occurrences. Also, the meeting with Carl Luce is considerably briefer in the story than in the novel.

Caulfield also figures as a character in the short story "I'm Crazy", published in Colliers (December 22, 1945), and other members of the Caulfield family are featured in "Last Day of the Last Furlough", published in The Saturday Evening Post (July 15, 1944) and the unpublished short stories "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" (c. 1942) and "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" (c. 1945). "I'm Crazy" is closely related to the first chapter of The Catcher in the Rye. It begins with Caulfield standing on a hill at "Pencey Prep" watching a football game below, and develops as Holden visits with his history teacher, Mr. Spencer, for a talk about his expulsion from school and his future. Several other details match those found in the first chapter of Catcher, including a reference to the mother of one of Caulfield's schoolmates and to his own mother sending him a gift of ice skates, but the story ends with his returning home instead of running away from school. Once home, he is not shown confronting...


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