Woman in the Catcher

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sneezy19
Words 483
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Women in the Catcher

There are a number of women in Holden’s life in “The Catcher in the Rye”. Women often appear in the book to illustrate Holden’s youth, such as the prostate Sunny. However, two women of greatest influences on Holden and his actions actually make no appearance in the book. His mother and his ex-girlfriend Jane Gallagher reoccur in Holden’s thoughts and can be seen to contribute to his present state of mind.

Jane Gallagher is an important woman in Holden’s life. Much of “The Catcher in the Rye” is written using flash backs. Holden remembers back to episodes when he perceived he was happy. Jane
Gallagher is a big part of these memories, as she existed in his life before his brother died. As a character she seems to represent Salinger’s central theme of innocence in this novel. Holden idolises Jane and does not want the image of her shattered. This is clear at the beginning of the book when he attacks Stradlater because he has been on date with Jane. Clearly Holden cannot bear the idea of Jane becoming part of the adult world that he despises.

Holden’s mother, in contrast, very much reinforces the pain of his brother’s death in his mind. There is a suggestion in Holden’s account of his younger brother’s death that his parents lied to him to spare him from the pain of knowing his brother was about to die. This resulted in Holden’s violent response in their garage and his dislike of “phonies” that appears throughout the book. She is viewed badly in the novel and as readers we only have Holden’s perspective of her behaviour. This is clearly illustrated when Holden compares her to the nuns he meets in the coffee shop. He sees their motives in collecting money as pure, whilst he condemns his mother’s charity works as
“phony”, believing she only does it to make people like her. His mother has clearly hurt him, therefore as a…...

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