Coming Of Age In Catcher In The Rye

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Throughout life every individual undergoes a rite of passage known as the coming of age. During this experience multiple changes occur, such as, the mental and physical progression from a child into an adult. The coming-of-age process is reflected in J.D. Salinger’s literary realism novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield struggles to come to terms with the loss of childhood innocence; however, Holden experiences self-reflection and understands he cannot change everything. Holden possesses a strong inability to accept the loss of childhood innocence. After Phoebe asks what Holden wants to be when he grows up, he explains, “What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff… I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.” (Salinger, 191) Holden wishes to protect children from “falling off the cliff”, a metaphor for the inevitable transition to adulthood. Like the students and teachers at Pencey, Holden believes that people who mature become phony. Therefore, he would much rather have children stay young and pure for the remainder of their lives, instead of growing up. As a result, Holden is using everything in his power to prevent others from maturing, or losing their innocence. When Holden is visiting the Museum of Natural History before his date with Sally, he mentions, “The best…show more content…
Holden’s struggles have taken a toll on him at such a young age, he feels as if he has grown up and lost his innocence much faster than he wanted. Therefore, Holden wants to stay young, yet comes to acceptance in terms of the issues he has no power over. This novel is an American Classic in which the recurring themes are timeless even in contemporary society. A coming-of-age is a process that can leave individuals with confusion and depression, yet leave others with a sense of pride, and self
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