Shortly after Holdenleaves Pencey Prep he checks in to the EdmontHotel. This is where Holden’sturmoil begins. Holden spends the following evening in this hotel which was”full of perverts and morons. (There were) screwballs all over theplace.
” His situation only deteriorates from this point on as the more helooks around this world, the more depressing life seems. Around every cornerHolden sees evil. He looks out on a world, which appears completely immoral. Thethree days we learn of from the novel place a distressed Holden in the are ofManhattan.
The city is decked with decorations and holiday splendor, yet, muchto Holden’s despair “seldom yields any occasions of peace, charity or evengenuine merriment. “Holden is surrounded by what he views as drunks,perverts, morons and screwballs. These convictions which Holden holds waver verymomentarily during only one particular scene in the book. The scene is that withMr.
Antolini. After Mr. Antolini patted Holden on the head while he wassleeping, Holden jumped up and ran out thinking that Mr. Antolini was a pervertas well. This is the only time during the novel where Holden thinks twice aboutconsidering someone as a pervert. After reviewing Mr.
Antolini, Holden finallyconcludes that maybe he wasn’t making a “flirty” pass at him. Maybe hejust like patting guys heads as they sleep. This is really the only time in thenovel where Holden actually considers a positive side. This event does notconstitute a significant change. As Holden himself says, “It’s not too badwhen the sun’s out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out. “The sun of course is a reference to decency through the common associationof light and goodness.
His perception of the world remains the same. The oneconviction that does change during the novel is Holden’s belief that he canchange the world. On his date with Sally, Holden reveals his feelings. “Didyou ever get fed up?. . .
I mean did you ever get scared that everything was goingto go lousy unless you did something. . . “Holden goes through several plans.
Holden at one point contemplates heading out west where he will pretend to be adeaf-mute and live a quiet life. At another point Holden proposes to Sally toescape this world with him. It is finally to his younger sister Phoebe thatHolden reveals his ultimate plan. Although Holden describes the situation in avery picturesque and symbolic manner he essentially tells Phoebe that he wantsto prevent children from growing up. He blames the world’s corruption on adultsand believes that when he stops the children from growing up he will preservetheir innocence and save the world. It takes most of the book before Holdenbegins to realize that he is helpless to stop this corruption.
Finally, herealizes that not only is there nothing that he can do, but there is nowhere hecan go to hide from it. Holden takes awhile to comprehend these concepts. Onegood example is when Holden is delivering the note to his sister. He encountersa “*censored*-you” written on the wall.
Holden careful rubs this offwith his hand so as to protect the innocent children from reading it. Later onhe finds “*censored*-you” scratched into the surface with a knife. Hediscovers that he can’t efface this one. Even in the timeless peace of theEgyptian tomb room at the museum there is an un-erasable”*censored*-you. ” This incident is the beginning of Holden’srealization that his dreams are infeasible. Strangely enough, it is one of the”innocent” children that he is trying to protect who helps him come toterms with this realization.
It is Phoebe who challenges his plan to escape outwest. As he is telling Phoebe that she can not run away, he discovers that hetoo can not run away. “You can’t ever find a place that is nice andpeaceful, because there isn’t any. “The final break – down comes near theend of the book when he is