Holden, the main character of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, lives in a paradoxical world. On the one hand, he fears getting to know people and forming meaningful connections with them, so he distances himself from others. On the other hand, he needs emotional connections and he often looks for them, yet he is unable to fully commit. 

Holden’s alienation prevents him from fully committing to both schools and people. The novel reveals that, for different reasons, Holden has left several schools, including Elkton Hills and Whooton School before being expelled from Pencey. While he is clearly an intelligent young man, Holden’s distaste for the institutions he studies in makes him refuse to commit to studying and schools. 

Holden’s alienation also makes him unable to commit to people and he pushes them awa...

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