Growing Up In Catcher In The Rye

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At some point everyone wants to be a “grown up,” you can do everything you want, right? Sooner or later we all learn that growing up isn’t as great as it seems and we then strive to have the innocence and lack of responsibility that we were once so eager to give up. There is a lack of control felt by teenagers, everyone wants to help shape their future, but nothing feels quite right to them at the time. Growing up is a painful and confusing time for almost everyone. In the famous coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger convincingly communicates the painfulness of growing up through symbols including, the ducks in the Central Park Lagoon, the Natural History Museum, and The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger uses the Ducks in Central…show more content…
He asks cab drivers if they “know where...the ducks [go], when [the lagoon] gets all frozen over”(60). In other words, Holden wants to know where he goes when he grows up. In his own way he believes that growing up is a horrible thing, something cold and dark, therefore, he compares it to the frozen lagoon. By asking this question, he is showing that although he knows that he will grow up and change, he still seeks guidance to do it. Later on, Holden asks another cab driver the same question, though the cab driver ignores Holden’s question, he decides to tell him about the fish in the lagoon. Unlike the ducks, the fish in the lagoon are “frozen solid…[and dependent on] mother nature [to] take care of them” adding “ you don’t think the fish just die when it gets to be…show more content…
One of the most important symbols used by Salinger, is The Catcher in the Rye. It is also probably the best symbol used to show how agonizing growing up is to Holden. When Holden was speaking to his younger sister, phoebe, he explained to her what he really wanted to do with his life. He told Phoebe that “[he has] to come out from somewhere and catch [the children]...that’s all [he would] do all day…[he would] be the catcher in the rye”(173). In other words, he wants to keep the children from experiencing the pain of growing u. This really solidifies the idea that Holden despises the idea of adulthood and wants to protect others from it. When he hears a child singing “The Catcher in the Rye,” he says that “it made [him] feel better… and not so depressed anymore”(115). The whole concept of The Catcher in the Rye makes Holden feel better about life. Simply put, it gives him a sense of control that he does not currently feel. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, uses the ducks in the Central Park Lagoon, the Natural History Museum, and the Catcher in the Rye as rich symbols to show the pain that Holden feels about growing up. Growing up is in no way fun for Holden, it is confusing and painful much of the time, just as it is for many others. Once we have experienced the responsibilities of being an adult we want to go back to the days when all we had to do was go to school and have fun. The saddest thing we come to find as we grow and mature it the fact that we never
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