Catcher In The Rye Fear Analysis

Good Essays
Kaylee Tokumi Mr. Inouye English 10 (6) 10 March 2016 Fear of Change and Adulthood A classic novel that captures the confusion of growing up, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is told from the perspective of sixteen-year old Holden Caulfield as he attempts to avoid change and adulthood. Burdened by loneliness and displeased by the spurious behavior of adults, Holden struggles to find a way to retain his innocence and avoid growing up. After losing the fencing team’s equipment after a trip to New York, Holden purchases a hunting hat for a dollar, attracted to the hat despite how corny it appears. Constantly worn during times of vulnerability and uncertainty, Holden’s hunting hat develops into an important symbol, representing Holden’s desire…show more content…
Holden 's hunting hat represents Holden 's self isolation from society, believing that seclusion is a way to escape growing up and the phoniness of adulthood. While returning home with the fencing team from a trip to New York, Holden buys a red hunting hat, which he wears with the "old peak way around" (Salinger 21) in a very odd manner often when he is trying to act courageously. By wearing his hat in an strange, attention-attracting way, Holden is declaring that he wants to be different and thus separate from society, believing that self isolation is the only way he will be able to resent change or at least escape from the phoniness of adulthood. Holden often fantasizes about "[getting] the hell out of here" (Salinger 146), wanting to escape from society, somehow thinking that running away will prevent him from maturing. Instead of facing what confuses or scares him, such as Pencey Prep, he chooses to act indifferently, turning his back and fleeing from what makes him feel insecure. Holden 's constant flight from change and the adulthood, two aspects of life that confuse and therefore scare him, leave him emotionally drained and…show more content…
Holden matures and learns to accept change, realizing that growing up is a part of life and does not always mean becoming a phony without individuality. Although Holden 's ideas and hunting hat "gave him some protection" (Salinger 233), making him think was different and thus capable of evading adulthood, Holden realizes that change is inevitable. Once Holden accepts that every child will lose their innocence, becoming aware of the evils of the world, Holden is able to stop lying and return home with Phoebe, instead of abandoning his family. Despite being a fictional novel, Holden 's story and fear of adulthood parallels the apprehension of modern day youth who are growing up. Change and adulthood can seem dark and looming, causing many to look for escape. Like Holden, many look towards the future and feel powerless, having no knowledge of what is to come or of what adulthood might hold. Many search for a way to assert his individuality, looking for his or her talent to stick out of the crowd. Others, like Holden, live in fear of change, attempting to ignore what they feel powerless to control. However, it is important to conquer fear of change by realizing it is inevitable, allowing one to develop and lead a
Get Access