"Holden's Favorite Guy in the Bible" - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2022

"Holden's Favorite Guy in the Bible"


In chapter 14, Holden’s aside that his favorite character in the Bible is “that lunatic and all that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones” can be read as at once a defining psychological clue and a structurally instrumental device in tracing Holden’s dark passage in The Catcher in the Rye. This unlikely preference, second to Jesus, for a man possessed by demons and living naked among tombstones appears as both enigmatic and revealing in the context of Holden’s spiritual and existential crisis. Harold Bloom even considers this declaration as “the darkest and the most significant sentence in Salinger’s book.” In light of Salinger’s mastery of detour and indirection, this incidental aside comes to acquire a symbolic, even parabolic dimension in the novel. A detailed analysis of the parallels that can be drawn between this pericope from the Gospels and Holden’s narrative will serve to establish in what ways this allusion to the Gerasene demoniac can be construed as an interpretive tool to account for Holden’s tribulations and vicissitudes.


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hal-03579168 , version 1 (17-02-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03579168 , version 1


Sylvie Mathé. "Holden's Favorite Guy in the Bible". Peter Bailey. Critical Insights: J.D. Salinger, Peter Bailey ed. Ipswich, Massachusetts: Grey House Publishing, 2022, 109-129., Salem Press Grey House Publishing, pp.109-129, 2022, 9781637000755. ⟨hal-03579168⟩
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