Meeting Holden Caulfield by Thanuri & Michelle


Holden Caulfield is a very complex character. With adequate analysis we can conclude how he feels about different situations and characters that he comes across. However the reasons behind these feelings are sometimes hard to understand. One thing that shone brightly about Holden, in my point of view, is that he has trouble trusting others. I feel as though many people do, but what was his reason?  Holden is always closed, pretending, far away. He never opens up, never shows anyone what he really feels. Always acting, he lies to even those who are closest to him, those who want the best for him. The only person he trusts, gives his heart to for safe keeping, is his sister, Phoebe. But why only her? Because he realized that to trust someone, you have to get to know them and when you get to know someone, you end up caring for them, and when you are for someone, you end up loving them. Even in the smallest way. Allie was Holden’s younger brother. He trusted Allie as much as he trusts Phoebe. When Allie died, Holden experienced a loss like nothing he had ever felt before. It was so hard and deep. It was so unforgiving and scared him from that moment on. This is why people who meet Holden have a hard time getting to know him. He hides away and showcases someone else. The few people who do earn his trust, have traveled a  long, difficult journey. That expedition is what I wanted to emulate in my structure.            

When a person walks into my structure I want them to feel a little intimidated. The front of my structure is big, tall, and foreboding. This represents how Holden seems to be to a person he has just met or a person that he does not want to get to know further. My structure, in a nutshell, is a long, twisting path with doorways that decrease in size the further a person moves along. As the person walks through, he will be greeted with a sequence of spaces deceasing in size. The pacing of the structure is consistent and the chronology of the ‘rooms” are predictable yet surprising. When he reaches the final door, he will feel at home, welcome. The final door is the size of the door one would have to their bedroom. Warm and accepting, this symbolizes Holden’s true attitude to those he trusts. This must be trusted because the reader cannot trust what Holden always says because he is a very unreliable character. 
Holden  acts differently towards different people he knows, based on how long he knows  them and how much he can relate to them, even if they have the same motives. When Phoebe, Holden’s sister is angry at him for being kicked out of school, “If you don’t think she’s smart, you’re mad…I tried to pull her off but she’s strong as hell. You get tired fighting with her.”(165). Yet Holden reacts differently  when Mr. Antolini,  Holden’s former teacher is concerned and wants to help Holden  after he is kicked out of school says, “I kept wishing , though, that he’d continue the conversation in the morning, instead of now, but he was hot. People are mostly hot to have a discussion when you’re not.”(187). Mr. Antolini is trying to help Holden, out of the goodness of his heart yet Holden wishes he could continue the conversation later. He deems the conversation not as important as one he would have had with his sister. Holden is very close to his sister, even when she is not acting like a wise, composed, not-phony, girl. Phoebe is clearly not showing the behavior of someone who has no faults, yet these facts seems to pass through Holden’s head like flowing water.

On the other hand, Holden is very critical about Mr. Antolini. He sees a fault in almost everything Mr. Antolini does. Holden thinks of Mr. Antolini as a phony, acting to impress other people instead of being who he truly is. This, in my point of view, is hypocritical of Holden because he is very self-conscious and other people’s opinions affect him greatly. Phoebe knows Holden very well and Holden feels at home with her because he has known her for all of her life and most of his. They grew up together and trust each other, similar to the people who travel through my structure, who traveled the winding, difficult, and hard course together. At the end of the structure they find themselves in a more welcoming environment due to the time they have spent trying to get there, hence becoming having more affinity to it. At the beginning of the structure, they are not warmly welcomed, just like Holden does not warmly welcome new people into his life. Mr. Antolini had not known Holden for that long and had not earned the trust of Holden because he did not go through the difficult processes of earning it, which is represented by the process of passing through my structure

Both  my partner and I originally started out with completely different sketches and completely different ideas about our structure. After we agreed on what it was going to represent we laid out some plans that would help us relay our ideas to viewers. After some thought, and input from our mentors, we built a rough model. Then we began to reflect on what was hard to build regarding the rough model and what would no doubt be hard to build for the actual structure. We also considered the reason why we had certain parts of the structure in the places they were at. Were they representing something that directly related to our ideas, or were they solely there for aesthetic purposes? This was when we scraped a lot of aspects of our plan and adjusted to a simple yet meaningful design. 

This project was very worthwhile. I genuinely enjoyed the entire process. I my opinion, the class had to dive deeper into the meaning of the book, as opposed to if we only wrote an essay about a controversial issue in the book. We had to evaluate the ideas the author was trying to relate to us with more detail because in order to represent an idea in a structure. This project let us have more freedom. When we have more freedom, we are motivated to work hard and make efforts to create the best project we possibly could because of our own interest. Overall, this project was a fresh new way to thoroughly delve into important aspects of the book “Catcher in the Rye”, by J.D. Salinger.

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