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The Catcher In The Rye

Powerful Essays
J.D. Salinger explores the difficulties associated with the passage from youth to adulthood in his novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The author especially highlights the importance people staying connected to others to successfully transition from childhood to adulthood. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in the novel, is desperately clinging to his youth. Holden is obsessed with the phony nature of adults and judges the people around him based upon their degree of insincerity, two-facedness, and pretension. Holden is equally preoccupied with preserving childhood innocence. He is unable to sacrifice his purity to gain adult privileges. In fact, Holden is so disillusioned about adulthood that he eventually cuts off all ties in his life that could…show more content…
The first instance of Holden’s own phoniness occurred when he says “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It 's awful” (22). Holden recognizes the problem with his lying capabilities and tendencies, but does not consider himself phony. Holden’s unwillingness to recognize his own phoniness despite knowing the problems with his lies signifies that Holden is floating between childhood and adulthood. Holden once again lies while on the train, when talking to a fellow student’s mother. When asked for the reason Holden has left his school a few days before Christmas break, he responds, “It isn’t very serious, I have this tiny little tumor on the brain” (75). In this instance, by not admitting to his expulsion, Holden benefits from the lie, thus adding to the phoniness. Holden creates a persona of a saintly child. Thus, Holden is unable to stem the tide or change as he himself is becoming an adult, whether he likes or recognizes it himself. Holden struggles with the transition from childhood to…show more content…
In The Catcher In the Rye, J.D. Salinger explores the transition from youth to adulthood through Holden. Holden desperately wants to maintain the positive aspects of childhood while obtaining the benefits given to adults. Without strong family or another adult support system to guide him, Holden’s obsessions and deficiencies dominate him. In the end, the reader is left with the impression that Holden will not have a successful exit from his teenage years. In fact, his alienation from everyone around him is the main reason his decline is both dramatic and inevitable. Thus, the formation of connections to others during teenage years are imperative to healthy mental growth, as shown by Holden
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