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Maturation In Catcher In The Rye

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The teenage years are filled with change in every aspect of one’s life. In just a span of seven years, teenagers must reach maturation, despite many twists and turns, to transition into adult society somewhat smoothly. As children enter this turbulent chapter of their lives, the adult world may seem frightening and the light at the end of the tunnel may appear to be a great distance away. In this intense process of maturation, teens must discover themselves to find their place in the world, and for some it may prove to be quite a struggle. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, finds his struggle to uncover his true identity especially difficult and frightening. At the exposition of the novel, he has failed out of his fourth…show more content…
He may criticize others for the way they act, yet turn around and hypocritically act that way himself without realizing it. For example, Holden criticizes adults for being “phony” many times in the novel, that is, concealing their true nature behind a mask of the image they want others to see. However, on his train ride to New York, the lady who sits next to him happens to be the mother of the “biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey,” and after they talk about her son, she asks for his name. Instead of giving his real name, he says “Rudolf Schmidt,” the name of his dorm’s janitor, because he “didn't feel like giving her [his] whole life history” (Salinger 71). Clearly, Holden himself is being untruthful towards this woman, contradicting his own hatred of adult “phoniness.” According to Eberhard Alsen, author of, “the main reason Holden is so believable is that--like most adolescents--he is full of contradictions and ambivalent feelings” (8). Holden has contradicting attitudes towards many things in the novel, especially the adult world, but while he judges others he does not examine
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