Holden’s Crucifixtion

In one of the most well known stories of the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth’s crucifixion is represented often in modern literature. By allowing himself to be killed by his fellow man, he takes on the sins of humanity and allows all of mankind to attain salvation. It is represented as the most potent form of sacrifice, and as such it is frequently alluded to in several novels. This sacrifice is shown in the passage of John 19:28-30 “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” One such novel that is The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger. Disregarding the main character Holden Caulfield, who is a biblical figure in his own right, the novel briefly describes a character by the name of James Castle, whose initials should sound familiar. When talking with his sister about his dismissal from Pencey Prep, he describes an James as a figure quite like himself, although they did not know each other quite well. When James was talking with a group of older boys, he voiced an opinion which they disagreed with, so vehemently so that they took him into a room and beat him until he recanted his previous statement. He refused to do so, and they proceeded to beat him more. This abuse continued until he decided to jump out of a window, falling to his death. It is through his death that the reader is shown innocence and a sense of martyrdom through James’ protection of the truth. Since James was wearing Holden’s turtleneck at the time of his death, Holden feels regret and guilt because of his death, but because of James’ sacrifice he gains a better understanding of the world.



This entry was posted in AP Mindset, Biblical Allusions, Honors English III. Bookmark the permalink.

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