Catcher In The Rye Maturity

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The teenage years act as a boundary to either permit or prevent one from reaching adulthood. While some find the transition to be smooth, others become stuck in their past, remaining tied to their innocent childhood. Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, is an iconic representation of the American teenager. Holden refuses to accept the inevitable processes of life. Maturity, to Holden, is more than just a natural biological process. Instead, maturity represents a path to perverted and corrupted guilt. The idealized view Holden has toward his younger siblings leaves him wanting to remain innocent, which entails not becoming an adult. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden finds himself at the awkward intersection between…show more content…
Salinger portrays the impact Allie’s death has on Holden’s immediate actions. Holden describes the physical damage he inflicted in his reaction to his brother’s death:
I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn’t do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I’ll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie”
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In remembering the events, Holden resorts to accusing readers by saying, “... and you didn’t know Allie.” He does so to provide justification for his reckless behavior. This statement implies that it was Allie’s special character and personality that justify Holden’s violence. Since Holden insists Allie is so much of a better person than anyone else in the world, moving on from his death is a challenge that Holden never conquers. When speaking of his brother’s death, Holden recalls, “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all” (39). Holden mentions the possibility that he was going to be psychoanalyzed just after the passing of his brother. However, he explains that he did not receive treatment at that stage of his life. While writing down his thoughts for the novel Holden is simultaneously being psychoanalyzed. On the first page of the novel, Holden says, “[...] I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy”(1). Holden is referring to being in a place in which he is psychoanalyzed, several years after the death of his brother. Holden’s current situation when writing out his thoughts, being psychoanalyzed, and his reflective thoughts on when, years ago, they were going to have him psychoanalyzed shows the lasting effect Allie’s death has on him. Had his parents sought treatment then, it is worth wondering if Holden would be in the same state of mind
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