Pivotal Moment In Catcher In The Rye

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Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy, has an intense fear of change as well as growing up; however, after this experience he is more open and understanding of the necessity it is for development. In the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the pivotal moment in the psychological development of Holden Caulfield is watching Phoebe on the carousel, because it reveals the author’s message that growing up is a necessity.
Throughout the majority of the novel, Holden searched for answers about the adult world as well as constantly trying to prevent children from growing up. In the beginning, he was distraught over the question, “Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime?” (Salinger 107) as he reflects on where his own life is
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The carousel goes around in a circle, repeating the same cyclical pattern. As they approach it he observed, “It played that same song about fifty years ago when I was a little kid. That’s one nice thing about carousels, they always play the same songs” (Salinger 272). This monotonous cycle shows his desire to preserve his way of life. Holden’s personality has remained the same throughout his life as a result of him never truly growing up. He longs for his life to remain the same, to have everyone forever young. This is his idea of being the catcher and preserving the pure innocence he sees personified in both Phoebe and Allie. The act of Phoebe riding the carousel itself shows how she still possesses the childlike innocence Holden treasures. As he watches her, he fears that she will fall attempting to grab the golden ring: “All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she’d fall off the goddamn horse, but I didn’t say anything or do anything” (Salinger 273). The ring represents success in the adult world, which the children are striving for in their effort to grow up fast; however, Holden fears their failure. At this point he realizes that he has to let the children fall because growing up is essential. He watches Phoebe about to fall, but knows she will get back up and continue striving towards her goal. Holden knows that children should learn from their own mistakes, as he was forced to due in his complex journey to adulthood. The carousel mirrors life and how it continues without fault, so Phoebe couldn’t let it keep her down. He is becoming more comfortable with the idea that it is acceptable to mature. This is demonstrated when Phoebe attempted to lure Holden onto the carousel with her, but Holden resists the urge to regress into his childlike state of being. At this moment, he reveals that his is content

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