In my favorite novel, The Catcher in the Rye , isolation is a major theme. The story itself is about the mental, personal, and social isolation an individual named Holden Caulfield constantly faces and struggles with. He isolates himself by constantly feeling the need to judge and criticize the ones around him while he simultaneously alienates himself from them. Nearly the entire story is written from his isolated perspectives.
“ The first thing I did when I got off at Penn Station, I went into this phone booth. I felt like giving somebody a buzz, but as soon as I was inside, I couldn't think of anybody to call up. My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe was out. Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher's mother a buzz. Then I thought of calling this girl Sally Hayes. I thought of calling Carl Luce. So I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the booth, after about twenty minutes or so.” I took this with a pinhole camera that I made myself. While all students were inside in class, I took myself outside to take this ridiculous picture of myself and receive an A in Photo. I was entirely alone.
“ While I was changing my shirt, I damn near gave my kid sister Phoebe a buzz, though. I certainly felt like talking to her on the phone. Somebody with sense and all. But I couldn't take a chance on giving her a buzz, because she was only a little kid and she wouldn't have been up, let alone anywhere near the phone. I thought of maybe hanging up if my parents answered, but that wouldn't've worked, either. They'd know it was me. My mother always knows it's me. She's psychic. But I certainly wouldn't have minded shooting the crap with old Phoebe for a while.”
Isolate (verb): cause (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others
Fence (noun): may be used as a barrier to exclude someone or something
“ If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” Easily my favorite place to be alone and isolate myself.
“ But there was one nice thing. This family that you could tell just came out of some church were walking right in front of me – a father, a mother, and a little kid about six years old. They looked sort of poor. The kid was swell. He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed anymore.” This window is clearly apart from the rest of my bland room because it makes sitting in bed that much prettier.
“’ Well – take me to the Edmont then,’ I said. ‘Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail? On me, I'm loaded.’” Lonely terrain, lonely people.
“ When I finally got down off the radiator and went out to the hat-check room, I was crying and all. I don't know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome. Then, when I went out to the checkroom. The hat-check girl was very nice. I sort of tried to make a date with her. She said she was old enough to be my mother and all.” Charlotte tends to isolate herself.
“ Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game. I remember around three o'clock that afternoon I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomsen Hill. You could see the whole field from there, and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place. You could hear them all yelling.” Topsmead: one of the best places possible to get away.
“ You should see her. You never saw a little kid so pretty and smart in your whole life. She's really smart. I mean she's had all A's ever since she started school. As a matter of fact, I'm the only dumb one in the family.” This tree, apart from the rest, is so much wider, pinker, prettier, and elegant than all of the others. It stands out.
“ It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.” Not a single soul stands near.
“ I don't even know what I was running for - I guess I just felt like it.” Many people use music (i.e. playing the piano) to isolate themselves from the busy world around them.