Holden Caulfield

Holden Caulfield
What is in his head?
On the lookout: Traits
Holden is a teenage boy, age 16 during his
flashback. During the time he is contemplating
on Holden expresses his thoughts, and the
reader discovers that he is interested mainly in
the following 2 traits:
• How Innocent
• How Phony a person is
In his mind: People
Among the basic traits he looked for, in his head
Holden also had several people present at times.
Jane Gallagher
Sally Hayes
What matters most: Objects
Holden has certain value on items and thoughts
he possesses. Several of these items are:
• His red cap
• Allie’s baseball glove
• Ducks and their migration pattern
• The Museum of natural history
If you’re Phony
Holden views the world sort of in a Ying and Yang fashion, one
being the Innocence in the world which would be a persons’
childhood and the other being the adult world where every adult
saw things in a phony method. Holden usually judges someone by
how phony they are (not if they are or not). Holden tries to see
everyone as innocent, but finds that all adults are phony,
presenting traits that seem to somewhat disgust Holden.
Holden holds innocence as a virtue
that goes above all other things.
Above holding this trait above all he
sees it as one that is lost with the
passing of time and the coming of
age. A notable character that has
this trait is Phoebe, Holden’s
younger sister. Holden regrets
growing up and despises most
adults for having non-pure
intentions like that of Phoebe. And
because of that Holden sees the
innocent and pure children as
symbols, and that’s why he wanted
to be a catcher in the rye.
Jane Gallagher
Jane is also an innocent figure that Holden looks up to. Jane was a girl
Holden had spent a summer with, and throughout that summer Holden
begins to admire her for her actions and how they where pure. Holden
often return to the thoughts of that summer and often compared her with
other girls, saying that Jane was beautiful above the rest and innocent, a
combination that Holden came to adore.
Phoebe Caulfield
Phoebe is Holden’s 10 year
old sister, who again is
someone Holden highly
respects in this novel,
although she is 6 years
younger. This is the only
character that Holden
has in his mind 100% of
the time and his source
of happiness and
understanding (Phoebe
seems to be the only
person to understand
Allie Caulfield
Allie also is one of the few
characters Holden looks up
to as sort of a figure,
although his life was cut
short due to leukemia. Allie
always had a little glove
that he used while in the
baseball field, passed down
to Holden. To Holden, Allie
was the type of person who
was perfect, innocence and
all. due to that Allie was
also always in Holden’s
head, along with Phoebe
and Jane.
D.B. Caulfield
D.B. is a character that does not get mentioned much but is still
somewhat important. D.B. is shown as a perfect example of
what Holden holds to be phony, D.B. (Through Holden’s eyes)
had potential put prostituted himself and the potential has
gone to waste. The need to work and earn a living, or D.B.’s
conditions have lead him to do what he is currently doing ,
and Holden is criticizing him as Phony. The importance of D.B.
is that it sets Holden’s standards as to how he judges phony
Sunny is a first introduced as a prostitute who had been
requested by Holden through Maurice. Sunny is and
important person who tests out Holden for maturity. Holden
was still a child in heart even though he requested Sunny. On
her arrival, Holden was only interested in talking and nothing
else. This demonstrated his maturity through his actions. Due
to that, Sunny has taken shape in Holden’s head.
Holden’s Red Cap
Holden’s red cap is a very
important symbol in the
novel. The cap could very
well be seen as a sign for
safety and security for
Holden as well as a sign of
identity. When Holden wears
this hat he achieve a sort of
safety and loses all care for
the way he looks or others
perceive him and just
relaxing. This hat is an
important symbol used to
identify Holden, and this is
always in his head, the fact
that it identifies him.
Allie’s Poetry Written Glove
This glove is perhaps the most
important item that Holden
carries with him and in his
thoughts at all times. The
glove is special because it
belonged to Allie, Holden’s
little brother. Allie used this
glove to write poetry on (in
green) while he was playing
as an outfielder during
baseball. This is a symbol of
how Holden refuses to let go
of Allie’s innocent memory
and he hopes that this glove
may be used to catch the
children falling of the cliff of
innocence (catcher in the
Ducks in Central Park Lagoon
The ducks are a key component at
one point during the novel.
Holden sees the ducks and
ponders as to where they go
during the winter, perhaps
escaping from the wrath of
winter. The ducks appeal to
Holden because he wonders as
to how well he relates to them,
he is attempting to soon move
to the east coast, due to the
harsh conditions he’s faced
recently. Holden sees hope in
the ducks, seeing them as a ray
of hope
Museum of Natural History
Near the end of the story Holden re-visits the museum of natural
history, one he visited years ago as a child. The museum itself is
a symbol that holds strong emotions in Holden, as it is a current
place where his memories haven't changed. Even though Holden
has grown and has lost his innocence, the museum stays the
same preserving the same values as it has been in the past.
Holden sees the museum and holds it as if it where a wonder,
for they are non changing just as he wishes he could be.
This is totally the biggest symbol in
the novel. In chapter 16 Holden
begins singing “Comin’ Thro’ the
Rye.” which was a song originally
about meeting up in a rye field (2
people) and meeting for and affair
without being in a relationship
with each other. Holden’s still
childlike mind misinterpreted the
song and viewed it as catching in
the rye, catching the children
falling of the cliff, the cliff of
innocence. Holden’s dream when
he grows up is to be the catcher in
the rye, the catcher of children. In
the end, Phoebe opens Holden’s
eyes when she tells him what the
song actually says, further
showing Holden’s still semi
innocent soul and want to be a
All of the previous slides are
details briefly explaining
what goes on in Holden
Caulfield's head. This was
“What is in Holden’s Head”.
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