How does Salinger present Holden’s attitude to ‘childhood’ and ‘growing up’ in your three chosen extracts? [Draft Essay]
‘The Catcher in the Rye’ was written by J.D. Salinger and published in 1951. Throughout the novel a number of different themes and issues are addressed, however in this essay I will focus on ‘childhood’ and ‘growing up’ and how Holden feels about them. The theme I shall be focussing on is addressed several times in the novel but I shall only focus on three times the theme is referred to.
A significant point where Holden has an unusually positive outlook related to the theme is in chapter 12. Holden is taking a cab; it was “a vomity kind of” cab that he gets if he goes “anywhere late at night.” It is clear that Holden
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Nevertheless, as the extract proceeds the tone changes. Holden shows a more youthful side to himself and a willingness to encounter mysteries, and this does not happen often when it comes to Holden. Holden asks Horowitz whether he has ever passed “the lagoon in Central Park? Down in Central Park South?” Holden then continues to ask if Horowitz knew about “the ducks that swim around in it?? In the springtime and all? Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime by any chance?” The ducks and their pond are symbolic and create many connotations. The fact that the pond is “partly frozen and partly not frozen” signifies a transition between two states, or in Holden’s situation his transition from childhood to adulthood. The frozen state of the pond also shows Holden’s awareness of an inhospitable environment that Holden finds himself in; being in New York with nowhere to go and his transition into adulthood. The disappearance of the ducks in wintertime but then coming back in spring represents vanishings that aren’t temporary but cyclical; it represents a fantasy that Holden wants as we know that he was traumatised about his brothers’ death. He was going to be “psychoanalysed and all, because he broke all the windows in the garage.” Consequently the reappearance of the ducks is technically assuring for Holden as from the death of Allie, the reader knows that Holden finds vanishings hard to deal with. Overall, this extract