English Essay

/ 6 November 2007

I’ve included in the extended body of this blog post an essay I wrote in English on the book “Catcher In The Rye”. We had to pick a single area to focus on, I chose the relationship Holden has with his sister (both characters in the book, Holden is the main character). Please leave any comments you have on it in the comments of this blog post. Enjoy, Alex.

Holden’s relationship with his sister, Phoebe is a complicated one. That says something when it comes to the relationships Holden has had. In this single relationship he manages to sustain a friendship. With all others that he’s had in his history he can’t. Holden and Phoebe seem to have been made to fit with each other more than all other relationships Holden’s had. The feelings that Holden has for Phoebe indicate a healthy relationship. He enjoys her company, but still separates himself. Most of the last half of the book it becomes clear just how powerful and existent this relationship is. The one example that sticks above all others is the conversation he and Phoebe have in D.B.’s room at night. That forces us to see the deep level of relationship the two of them have. There aren’t any direct quotes for it, just the entire scene at night. Even with this positive relationship Holden keeps a distance partly by tagging the age gap and tries throughout the book to keep Phoebe a young child while he is this (not-so-good) teenager. This gap separates certain arms of the relationship that would otherwise exist. “Do you want to go for a ride” (210), during the carrousel scene is an example. The same thing makes Phoebe more prone to feeling left-out and not in the friendship the same way Holden is. This becomes clear with the way Holden talks to Phoebe. As Holden keeps his distance, but stays nice and friendly with Phoebe he allows her to stick near him. He does encourage her to return to school; “You can’t take anything. Because you’re not going” (, but isn’t annoyed that she’s shadowing him from across the street. He starts out annoyed, but he settles down about halfway through and stays nice from then on out. Given how troubled Holden was when it came to relationships it’s good (and healthy) that he was able to sustain the relationship he had with his sister, Phoebe, even through in and out times when it came to schools and the rest of his family. I look at this relationship as the only real strand of sanity/ control Holden had that connected him back to his family and old (young) life.