Holden Caulfield Maturity Analysis

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In J.D. Salinger's bestselling novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield shows a sense of maturity that exceeds far beyond his peers when it comes to sexual relationships with girls. First, Holden becomes furious when he learns that Stradlater exclusively wants his childhood crush Jane for sexual endeavors. Second, Holden forfeits his big chance with Sunny and attempts to unsuccessfully build a healthy relationship with her instead. Third, Holden reflects on his treatment of girls, showing a more refined mindset when compared to other teenagers. Although Holden dislikes the transition from childhood to adulthood, he exhibits qualities of a mature grownup without even knowing it. Holden’s bursts of maturity are apparent throughout the novel. An early altercation with Stradlater reveals Holden’s mentality from the beginning.

Stradlater, handsome and womanizing, has sexual affairs with women
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Holden “‘[does not] like the idea” of boys doing “crumby stuff” to girls without liking them; such ideas “stink” in Holden’s eyes, but he does not put all of the blame on boys. He says that girls “[are not] too much help, either.” Holden speculates that both sides, male and female, have faults and that there could be improvement. His realizations further bolster his stature on relationships and human tendencies.

In conclusion, Holden’s ethos on girls and sexuality tied to them is very unique in comparison to other coequals he encounters in The Catcher in the Rye. Even though his success with girls is limited and that he falls victim to temptation, Holden abides by his opinion. He displays respect for girls and is not one to rush into relationships. Albeit he is involved in his own childish antics, Holden still displays a mature and reserved side of himself that is considerate of
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