How Salinger’s Holden Caulfield Relates to Teenagers Throughout Time

1404 Words Mar 15th, 2012 6 Pages
How Salinger’s Holden Caulfield Relates to Teenagers Throughout Time

In 1951, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye was #1 on the New York Time’s bestseller list. Since then, the American Literary Association claims The Catcher in the Rye is a “favorite of censors.” The use of harsh language and profanity has been a long time debate of educators causing the novel to be pulled off bookshelves and propelling J.D. Salinger and his protagonist, Holden Caulfield, into reluctant fame. The translation of the book into many other languages speaks to the relevance of Holden’s teenage experience in many different nations and cultures. As J.D. Salinger takes the reader through Holden’s journey, it becomes obvious that Holden is
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The same can be said for his calls to Jane Gallagher. Since he calls but hangs up, Holden is fragile and too scared to reach out to her. A symbol of Holden’s distance from society is the hunting hat. Holden wears the hunting hat as a way of separating himself and even describes it as a “shooting people hat” (Salinger 30). Alienation causes Holden great pain. He needs human contact and acceptance, but his isolation and bitter attitude prevents him from achieving this. Holden isolates himself as a way of dealing with the pain of growing up. Throughout the novel, Holden matures and experiences the universal pains every teenager faces. Holden narrates his feelings of angst and his struggle to go west where it is peaceful by saying, “That’s the whole trouble. You can’t find a place that is nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any” (Salinger 204). Holden Caulfield is an unusual young character. Holden’s main goal is to reject adulthood and the maturing every teenager faces. Holden lives in a deeper world than the other teenagers, so it hard for him to have friends his own age (Privetera 6). To escape his struggles, Holden creates an imaginary and negative opinion about the adult world where he rejects phoniness and creates a childhood world of innocence. His fantasy of being the catcher in the rye relates innocence to childhood and adulthood to death. Another
Wetherington 3 example of Holden’s rejection of growing up is the museum. The museum

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