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Catcher in the Rye

Exploring Death and Colors
by

Benjamin W

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Catcher in the Rye

Thoughts of Death and Injuries (general) "When I do die, I hope to hell somebody has the sense enough to just dump me in the river or something" (155). Allie "I wrote about my brother Allie's baseball mitt...He's dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine" (38)

"He had very red hair" (38)

Page 155 Paragraph about Allie's grave:
"I know his soul's in Heaven and all that crap." Holden views both "falling" into the adult world and dying as the most final things life can offer; however, he realizes that nothing in life is set, and therefore death is not either. Thoughts of Suicide/Immediate Death "I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden...I almost wished I was dead" (48). James Castle "Finally, what James Castle die, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window...there was old James Castle laying right on the stone steps and all. He was dead, and his blood was all over the place" (170-1). Killing/Hurting Others Almost a defense mechanism of fantasy:

"This is a people shooting hat. I shoot people in this hat" (22).

"But I'd plug him anyway. Six shots through his fat hairy belly" (104).

"I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I'd smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody. But I knew, too, I wouldn't have the guts to do it" (201). Death and Colors in Catcher Chapter 14: "In the first place, I'm sort of an atheist" (Page 99). Chapter 22: "I know he's dead...I can still like him, though, can't I?" (171) "What I do, when I start getting very depressed, is talk to Allie" (98) Then talks about Jesus He thinks Allie=Jesus (idolizes him)
Jesus came back suddenly
So Holden might think Allie will return The way he speaks to Allie and refuses, to himself, to acknowledge that he is gone forever, illuminates Holden's "illness" Even though Holden is becoming more green, we still wants Allie's red hair to save him. However, Holden can't find him, which leads him to an obsession of the ducks and where they've gone.
Ducks, happy in the summer, have had their habitat torn away from them.
Holden wants to know where they went, so he could follow Allie there. "You know those ducks...do you happen to know where they go, when it gets all frozen over?" (60). Sees Circle of Life as: Life Death Doesn't want Allie to be here. Tries to make him be here. Even tries to get back to the red through Allie:

"I just thought I'd go down,down,down, and nobody'd see me ever again...and when I would reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank [Allie]" (198) Although Holden originally views life and death, as well as childhood and adulthood, as two extremes, he realizes that they form a circle, which allows him to finally get closure from Allie's death and accept adulthood in his life. Holden is trying to live through the dead. "I was that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all" (213) Allie Caulfield, dead from leukemia.
His big brother refuses to accept his death, and speaks to Allie as though he his alive.
However, Holden still tries to get Allie's red-ness to help him when he is growing up.
Eventually, he grows up, even with the protection of Allie's hair
He still can become red by using Phoebe "My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection in a way, but I got soaked anyway" (212-3). Rain is blue Could be adulthood, pushing him, easily, into the adult world.
Phoebe's side: could be a different kind of yellow; instead of falling off a cliff, it is something more forgiving. Although Holden originally associates death with growing up, he realizes by the end of the novel that childhood and adulthood, and life and death, are circular cycles. At the end, he accepts that life is a circle. "If I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say "Holden Caulfield" on it, and then what year I died, and then right under that it'll say "F*** you. I'm positive, in fact" (204). We can see Holden's anger with death.

He was so upset by Allie's death that he doesn't care what happens to him once he dies.

He feels that burying Allie is bad because then he has no chance of coming back.

Holden feels insignificant: by dying, he maybe thinks he can reconnect with Allie and return to childhood.

Trying to DIE NOBLY FOR A CAUSE:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." (188) "What I really felt like though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out of the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory" (104). Anyway I kept worrying...that I was going to die. I felt sorry as hell for my mother and father" (155). Every time something green happens, he wishes to die/ thinks he is going to die so that he will go back to red (bloody).
1) After fight with Stradlater
2) After fight with Maurice
3) This is after he sees that there are no ducks in the lagoon. Maybe he thinks he will die so that he will see where they went for himself. He will also see where Allie went. He died nobly for a cause, and his red and innocence was great. "He was the one that finally picked up that boy that jumped out of the window...Mr. Antolini felt his pulse and all, and then he took off his coat and put it over him...he didn't even give a damn if his coat got all bloody" (174). Mr. Antonili Red when he gives Holden advice.
Green when he drinks and kisses his older wife. We see that a person can exhibit both red and green, but Holden does not think so, and he describes Antonili as "perverty" (193). Holden still sees adulthood as final, and that one person cannot be both. Around and around: green and red
This shows now Holden knows not to be afraid of adulthood, and that he can still be both red and green.

Around and around: life and death
This shows now Holden knows that Allie can be both dead in a bodily sense but alive in spirit. This leaves him with a sense that he no longer has to die to be red, or be with Allie. But, as mentioned before: Kill people in the red hunting hat:
He would kill Maurice- make him bloody.
Bloody is red.

Maybe his fantasies are aimed to try to make adult people more red again, just like himself.

However, this twisted way of helping people shows Holden's warped view of the world.


He wants to catch the boy who wrote "FU" on the bathroom wall, and catch him before he went over the edge. But Holden sees the way to do that would be to make him dead and bloody. He went from "catcher" to killer.
It seems Holden is trying so hard to hold onto the red people in his life he would go to extreme lengths to make sure they stay there. Possible Theses "I had blood all over my mouth and chin and even on my pajamas and bathrobe. It partly scared me and partly fascinated me" (45). 1 2 3 He might be lying about knowing Allie is in Heaven. Says one thing, believes another Almost like he thinks Allie is alive. Very Linear #2
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