In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the ongoing tension between maturity and innocence helps show the simultaneous presence of youth’s purity and adulthood’s corruption in Holden’s mind. In his bildungsroman, Salinger illustrates the all necessary struggle of adolescence that strives to balance purity and corruption as Holden comes to terms with the indefinite nature growing up.
One of things that Holden really didn’t understand was sex. Holden never understood anything about it or what he had to do. Honden says “But the worst part was that you could tell they all wanted to go to the movies. I couldn't stand looking at them.’’ (Holden 61)
He’s still a virgin and even though, he’s had the chance to lose it before he has chosen abstinence. He cries when the prostitute comes in because he doesn’t understand how someone quite beautiful could be doing such a vulgar job. He refuses to have sex with her because he wants his first time to be “special,” this shows just how innocent Holden is. Most teenagers would have not thought
Holden has the choice to either act like an adult or play like a child when he comes across a problem. But not surprisingly, he can’t choose which path to follow, so he stays stuck in the middle. This middle grey area of transitioning from childhood to adulthood for Holden is what is causing his problems and what is making his choices and decisions a lot harder. Holden 's past experiences have taken a toll on him and are starting to cause present issues for him. Holden was only thirteen when his younger brother passed away and it hit him hard.
Holden’s Struggle To Find Himself: Throughout the novel, The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden struggles to find himself and who he truly is in order to be happy. His struggles relate to many things that he does or say in particular. Holden lacks with a social status with women and his family, whether it’s a relationship or being antisocial. Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield experiences the complexities and struggles involved with both physical and emotional relationships.
Furthermore, Holden starts to hate all the adults or loses faith in them, calls them phony. Holden has a second thought of becoming an adult he loses hope in his future and it seems to him nothing in the world matters to him anymore. We can see that throughout the book. He smokes, gets drunk, and does daring acts like getting a prostitute in his room. He also tries to escape all this guilt and grief by wasting time with unnecessary people he calls phony.
To start, the death of Holden’s younger brother, Allie, has impacted Holden’s life to a certain extent. He passed away when he was eleven years old and when Holden was thirteen years old from Leukemia. Holden has not been the same ever since the death and can be shown by, “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t.
Holden struggles with growing up and facing reality. There are many examples of Holden’s immaturity that are displayed in many forms such as facing responsibilities, his speech, his actions, and etc. Holden’s outlook on adult life is that it is superficial and brimming with phonies, but childhood was all about looking pleasing and innocent. He wants everything to stay the same and for time to stop. As Holden progresses in age, he will discover more about becoming mature in the
He talks quite a bit about sex, but his virginity is the last existing innocence to him. Holden pays for a prostitute to have sex with, but he cannot go through with it. He is very hesitant about losing his innocence. Holden wants to be “the catcher in the rye” (191) and save all the innocence in the world. He believes that that is what he wants to do in the future as he tells his little sister, Phoebe.
How Holden matured People go through rough stuff in their lives, such as losing a close sibling. It seems impossible to pull yourself out of the pain and guilt of your loss. It appeared Holden was in the same predicament, but through his experiences in the novel The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger he learns to grow up. Aside from being very immature, holden refuses to grow up and dislikes people who have grown up.
There are three main things that display Holden’s loss of innocence: his excessive drinking and smoking, leaving for three days and not contacting anyone, and Sunny the prostitute. When Holden is drinking and smoking, it shows how much h doesn’t care about his own health and how he’s more mature than others his age. When he doesn’t contact anyone it shows how he believes he can take care of himself and is an adult, much like when he interacts with Sunny. Holden helps many of the children who he meets keep their innocence because he has lost his. In An Analysis of the Adolescent Problems in The Catcher in the Rye, Lingdi Chen says that Holden sees the protection of children’s innocence as a primary virtue and that he enjoys being with Jane Gallagher and Phoebe because they are innocent and youthful.
Holden walks this tight rope throughout the novel of whether he should grow up and act mature, much like society wants him to or if he should go against force of society and hold on to his innocence. At one point in the novel, Holden tries to get rid of his innocence at a bar when he tries to act mature and order a drink containing alcohol, this is not a very innocent act after he gets denied because he doesn’t look over 21 he gets aggravated and really tries to sell himself as an adult. In the novel Holden states… “I gave him this very cold stare, like he’d insulted the hell out of me and asked him “Do I look like I'm under twenty-one?” (Salinger 69) Holden feels the need to get rid of his innocence because of societies influence. Society glamourizes the idea of drinking and makes it look appealing, Holden picks up on this.
From the outset, I have to say that “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger has been one of the most important and influential pieces of literature I have ever read. At its core, the book is a superb coming of age novel which discusses several extremely powerful themes such as the difficulties of growing up, teenage angst and alienation and the superficiality, hypocrisy and pretension of the adult world. These themes resonated deeply with me and were portrayed excellently through the use of powerful symbolism and the creation of highly relatable and likable characters. One such character is Holden Caulfield whom the story both revolves around and is narrated by.
Holden Caulfield, the main protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, embodies the classic teenager in the process of discovering himself, and how the world works. But, regardless of Holden 's rich, prep school lifestyle, the series of events that have mapped out his life up to this point have utterly affected his emotional well being and perception of the world. Many traumatic events such as the death of holds brother Allie, the death of a class mate, and countless numbers of awkward incidents with adults have all added up to affects Holden 's well-being and detach him from reality.