Who influenced you


Someone That Has Influenced You Describe a character in fiction, an historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence. Of the many fictional characters that I have met and experienced throughout my life, one who has had an influence on me would be Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger?s classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Having read the book twice, once in eighth grade and once my junior year of high school, I feel that I have a true understanding of Holden and that, in turn, he has influenced me. His story and individualistic outlook on life has, in a way, influenced the way that I live my life and go about dealing with events and issues that I face. When I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I honestly did not understand or see the point of the book. I was in eighth grade and read the book at leisure, mostly at my father?s urging. He told me that it was one of his favorite books that was truly a masterpiece in writing a realistic story about a unique individual. I was probably too young to be reading it, as I was unable to comprehend Holden?s complex thoughts and opinions. However, this proved to be an invaluable experience for me when I was required to read it during my junior year as part of my Honors English curriculum. Reading the book for a second time, I was able to pick up on and better understand Holden?s complex feelings and opinions. As I read through the novel, I began to figure out that he leads a troubled life, as he is seemingly always angry and extremely judgmental of the people he meets. While I cannot claim to have had to endure any of the sad events that Holden had to cope with (the death of a sibling, getting kicked out of schools, etc.), I feel that his decisions and lifestyle help me in how I choose to go about tackling issues in my life. A common issue facing everyday people like myself is giving a positive first impression. When meeting and being introduced to new people, one quality that I always appreciate is a person?s ability to be genuine. I am often bothered by a person who acts differently than they really are, which I think is a quality that I have become more aware of because of Holden. Holden, as opinionated as he is, has a great disliking for people who are, in his words, ?phony.? New and old people that he encounters that act this way peeve Holden to no end, and this is similar to how I feel about people who put on an act. To me, this more so disappoints me than upsets me, because I feel that the person who acts in this manner believes that their normal personality is not adequate for other people. It seems that they put on an act because they are not confident in themselves as a person. It is disappointing to me because I truly like people who act naturally and, personally, that is how I try to act toward people, whether they are an old friend or a new person that I am meeting for the first time. I often did not notice this personality trait in myself until after reading the novel for a second time and beginning to notice Holden?s opinion towards these types of people. A second part of Holden that has influenced me is his lack of friendliness and his inability to become a likeable member of society. Despite the negative effects of Holden?s personality, I feel that it has had a positive effect on me. It helped to teach me to be a kind and sociable person, as this is a key to happiness in life. Not to say that I was a depressing and unfriendly person before reading the novel, but following Holden?s miserable life gave me reason to believe that, if I were to act in that way, I would be unable to avoid a life similar to his. Holden lives a life of anger and, as a result, seemingly is incapable of being in a good mood. I pride myself in being able to find a happy middle ground in my life, an area in which I am rarely angry and am generally in a good mood. I consider this to be a direct contrast to the way that Holden lives his life, which to me is of great importance because, without this middle ground, I would have a greater chance of leading a life as gloomy as that of Holden. If anything, The Catcher in the Rye and, more specifically, Holden Caulfield, have taught me to lead a more genuine life. While I am not nearly as judgmental or as opinionated a person as Holden is, I feel that he has made a lasting impact on me. He has helped to teach me to appreciate people for whom and what they are, not for what they may try to be. He has also taught by example in leading a sad and dejected life. His lifestyle and opinions prove to me the importance of being a socially active and kind person. If I were to be missing these qualities, I would lead a life dreadfully similar to Holden?s. I have always strived to be a true and likeable person, which is a goal that is that is now more easily attainable having followed the trials and tribulations that mix together to form the life of Holden Caulfield. Truly, he has had a significant and lasting impact on me that will never be forgotten.

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