Bildungsroman In Catcher In The Rye

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Adolescence is quite possibly the most awkward moment in one’s life. It is a transition from youth to adulthood, in which a person experiences puberty, gains insight to their true identity, and has to figure out plans for the rest of their life whilst balancing all the crazy mishaps life has to offer. It is a troubling, yet rewarding period of time, and in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”, by J.D. Salinger, the main character Holden Caulfield experiences all of this within a span of five days. “The Catcher in the Rye” is quite simply the epitome of a bildungsroman, or a coming of age novel. It is the story of a teenage boy grieving over the death of his younger brother and coming to terms with growing up. His obsession with purity and his …show more content…
Holden’s transition however is slow and subtle, but powerful by the end of the novel. He experiences this revelation of where he’s supposed to be headed towards in life, as opposed to digressing back into time like he initially planned to. Holden would be described as a dynamic character because his attitudes towards becoming an adult changes, which is essentially the point of the novel. A clue that the reader is given that suggests Holden’s original attitude is changing is when Mr. Antolini says “I have a feeling that you’re riding for some sort of fall…a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. The whole arrangement’s for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with, so they gave up looking” (pg. 209). This shows the reader that Holden’s bridge into adulthood is approaching, and it is a pivotal moment within the novel. Mr. Antolini bluntly puts the change Holden is going through, and by doing so, Holden unknowingly realizes that he’s in the transition to becoming a grown up. This can be proved through the way Holden suddenly decides to leave Mr. Antolini’s house; he doesn’t bolt out of the house because he’s afraid of Mr. Antolini, he does it because he understands …show more content…
“The Catcher in the Rye” is really just Holden’s story of the way he dealt with the loss of his younger brother, Allie. Allie is the catalyst to the adventure that Holden takes in the novel. When Allie died, so did Holden’s sense of innocence. Holden’s coping mechanism is a cocktail of sarcasm and isolation, which just hurts him even more while he journeys on. By having someone so innocent and undeserving of a death so young, it made Holden cynical and anxious. The reader knows that the journey is prompted by the loss of his brother because on page 135, Holden says “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that 's impossible, but it 's too bad anyway”. This text evidence shows the reader how much Holden is against the idea of growing up. Being stuck in time may sound ideal for a while, but people have to grow up sometime. To Holden, once childhood is over, so is his

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