FC: The Catcher in the Rye and the Monomyth | By: Mercedes Fernandez
1: The Call to Adventure | Holden Caulfield, a troubled sixteen year old boy receives the Call when he is expelled from his school, Pencey Prep. He has failed all of his classes except English: "They gave me frequent warnings about applying myself-- especially around midterms, but I didn't do it. So I got the axe" (Salinger 4). From leaving Pencey, Holden is bitter about his departure and frequently calls others "phonies." Holden leaving Pencey is represented as the Call because he is forced out of his comfort zone and is facing a new environment he is not used to.
2: Refusal of the Call | Holden refuses the Call to Adventure when he starts seeing the things his relatives gave him for his stay at Pencey: One thing about packing depressed me a little. I had to pack these brand-new ice-skates my mother had just sent me" (Salinger 52). The refusal of leaving a world he has been accustomed to is a difficult time for Holden.
3: The Belly of the Whale | When Holden arrives in New York he takes a cab to a nearby hotel to stay for the night. From "a gray-haired old man put women's clothes on" to "a man and woman squirting water out of their mouths at each other" (Salinger 62). The sights Holden sees portrays a curiosity and sense of loneliness in his stay at the hotel.
4: Crossing the First Threshold | Holden first crosses the First Threshold when he leaves Pencey Prep overnight instead of Wednesday as planned: "All of sudden I decided what I would really do, get the hell out of Pencey, right that same night and all" (Salinger 51). He catches a late train headed to New York. Traveling to New York represents a new world that Holden has yet to experience.
5: Supernatural Aid | Holden's supernatural aid is his former history teacher, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer is a sickly old man. that gives Holden advice for the future. He says that "life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules" (Salinger 8).
6: Road of Trials | The Road of Trials for Holden is when he is tested his cowardliness. A promiscuous girl is at his bedroom door leaving Holden flustered: "I couldn't think of anything to talk about., I was scared to ask her" (Salinger 95). With Lillian Simmons, an old friend of his brother, leaves him wanted to dodge her. By doing these actions, it shows the isolation and disconnection Holden experiences to the world.
7: Meeting with the Goddess | The meeting with the goddess would be Holden's experience with meeting the nuns at the sandwich bar. He likes these women because he believes they are very genuine and sympathetic compared to the world of "phonies" Holden is associated with: "I said I enjoyed talking to them, too. I meant it, too" (Salinger 112). The connection with the nuns gave reason for Holden to donate ten dollars to their charity.
8: Temptation from the True Path | Holden's temptation is Sally Hayes. Sally is an attractive young girl that Holden refers to as a "royal pain in the ass." in the novel. She is portrayed as the temptation because she is a distraction for Holden. The first time he sees her he admits to himself that he loves her, only as a result to bicker and fight and realize that there never was a connection in the first place: "The funny part is, I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I'm crazy. I didn't even like her that much" (Salinger 124).
9: Atonement with the Father | Holden's father figure is his former English teacher, Mr. Antolini, at his former school Elkton Hills. Mr. Antolini is a father figure to Holden because he is understanding to Holden's troubled persona. Mr. Antolini helps his former student advice which Holden keeps throughout the novel: "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" (Salinger 188).
10: Apotheosis | Holden reaches the apotheosis when he travels to the nearby zoo with his younger sister, Phoebe. When they are at the carousel, Holden finds the true satisfactory moment of happiness--his childhood innocence: " I was so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around, I was damn near bawling" (Salinger 213).
11: Refusal of the Return | Holden's refusal of the return is when he decides to run away. He feels trapped inside a world full of "phonies" as he puts it: "I decided I'd go away. I decided I'd never go home again and I'd never go away to another school again" (Salinger 198) Holden refuses to accept challenges and by running away he is trying to escape facing them.
12: Master of the Two Worlds | Holden becomes the Master of the Two Worlds when asked by Phoebe if he really meant that he wasn't going anywhere. Holden agrees to his sister: "I meant it too. I wasn't lying to her, I really did go home afterwards" (Salinger 212). By facing his challenges, Holden reaches a true level of maturity, representing a step towards adulthood.
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