HOLDEN CAULFIELD’S CONTEMPT. I have a lot of the same feelings about THE CATCHER IN THE RYE now that my kids do, and a lot of it is due to my experiences since I read it. Mary McCarthy’s point that the book “… is based on a scheme of exclusiveness….” explains a lot of my feelings. Perhaps my dominant memory from the book is Holden Caulfield’s disdain for almost everyone he encounters. I glanced at the book again, and his disdain shows up on almost every page. This kind of contempt was new to me when I read the book back in the day and it was arresting. But we can encounter it on the internet now any time we choose to. Holden’s contempt for almost everybody is even more disquieting now because we have some reason to believe that it reflects a contempt for people that Salinger shares.

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  1. Annalisa says:

    Yes, the disdain and contempt were very unpalatable for me, even as a critical youngster of 15. I would disagree that the style of disdain you find on the Internet has anything to do with Holden Caulfield’s style. I’d like to borrow your library copy of the book and see if I can make any meaningful comparisons.

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