Catcher In The Rye Adult Development

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The novel The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger can be considered as one of the most successful, controversial and most influencing novels of the 20th century. Salinger´s protagonist Holden Caulfield has had a decisive impact on the success of the novel and is widely considered as a symbol for teenage rebellion. The impeccable success of the novel is therefore mainly due to the development of a clear theme (One´s attempt to resist changes in life can result in the life´s downfall) connected with the struggles and searches of the protagonist throughout the novel. Holden, who was traumatized by his brother Allie´s death, fears change and disappearance and thus struggles with the changes and responsibilities that become insurmountable …show more content…
This aspect is reflected by the multiple usage of “phony” throughout the novel. He believes that society has replaced values such as “love” and “honesty” with more superficial aspects such as “power”. This is shown as he states, when talking about future perspectives, that: “All you do (as a lawyer) is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. How would you know you weren’t being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn’t." (172) Because of this fear (from his perspective) of becoming a “phony”, Holden rejects his development into adulthood. The fantasy about him being the catcher for children, who play in the rye and are about to fall of a cliff, resembles this idea: He imagines to be the catcher for the innocent children who are about to fall into adulthood; He plans to save them from this “fall” and make them continue their, from his perspective, innocent childhood. Through the death of his younger brother Allie (for him a symbol of true honesty and kindness), Holden has learned to appreciate more emotional values and less superficial and in his eyes “phony” values. As he grows up, the fears to lose his initial character traits make him struggle with the development into adulthood; making him desire …show more content…
His jubilation about the museum is due to the fact that “everything always stayed right were it was. Nobody´d move”. (P. 109) This statement therefore resembles that Holden seems to enjoy the aspects that would never change. He fears from his own individual change and feels comfortable in an environment where everything had always stayed the same since the beginning of his childhood. But yet again, Holden know that in real life, things are not predictable and frozen and his fear from becoming an adult is represented by his thoughts on the ducks in central park: Holden asks the taxi drivers about “Where (…) the ducks go, when it gets all frozen over?” (P. 81) Holden, in this scenario, identifies himself with the ducks: He does not know where to go when a change occurs (a frozen lake as the metaphoric example) and launches several attempts to receive answers to his question. Therefore, the metaphoric symbols of the ducks show how Holden fears change and feels lost when something is about to move on. His ideal can be compared to the conditions in the museum, where nothing changes and everything would stay the

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