The Catcher In The Rye By JD Salinger

1191 Words 5 Pages
Holden Still

Many people refer to their high school days as their glory days or the worst four years of their life. In the coming-of-age novel, The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, Holden Caulfield struggles with the realization that he is growing up. While spending a long weekend in New York City by himself, he encounters and contemplates his life and the world around him. Holden’s inconsistency makes him neither a child nor adult, rather he is a confused, immature adolescent. Holden wants to be taken seriously like an adult. At the same time, he does not want the responsibilities that adulthood entails. Holden pursues aspects associated with the adult world such as sex and drinking, but is inexperienced.
Holden longs to be respected
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Sally tells him that after college, he can travel and explore. However, Holden believes that if he grows up, he will become the exact person he loathes: “I 'd be working in some office, making a lot of dough, and riding to work in cabs and Madison Avenue buses, and reading newspapers, and playing bridge all the time, and going to the movies and seeing a lot of stupid shorts and coming attractions and newsreels. Newsreels. Christ almighty. ” (Salinger 172-173). Holden’s rant reveals that typical adult worker actions bore him. Holden thinks that he will get stuck in the phony adult world that he sees. Sally sees the adulthood as freedom, but Holden sees it as a time where he is trapped as a typical adult only worried about money and attractions. Even though Holden longs to be treated like an adult, he wants to escape the responsibilities and values he perceives adults have. Phoniness is one of the adolescent problems he faces on his journey from childhood to adulthood, along with innocence and alienation, as Lingdi Chen writes. In An Analysis of the Adolescent Problems in The Catcher in the Rye, she sees Holden’s desire for an unchanging world with little surprises. The museum appeals to him because of the motionless and unchanging displays: “The museum represents the world Holden wishes he could live in: it’s a world of his “catcher in the rye” fantasy, a world where nothing changes, where everything …show more content…
Throughout the novel, Holden tries to talk to women and buy alcoholic drinks at bars. When the man in the elevator offers him a chance to have sex, Holden accepts. Holden wants to have sex with the prostitute, but hesitates and declines: “‘Sunny,’ she said. ‘Let’s go, hey.’ ‘Don’t you feel like talking for a while?’ I asked her. It was a childish thing to say, but I was feeling so damn peculiar”(Salinger 124). Holden expresses his desire for sex, but does not know what to do. He admits he is a virgin, and it shows. Because of his uncertainty of how to act before having sex, he tries to delay it. Unlike his peers, he thinks of women as people to connect with instead of just someone to fill his sexual desires. Holden would rather think of Sunny as a common girl, rather than someone doing a dirty job she may be too young for. While he attempts to start a conversation withe her, he treats her as a person with conventional, innocent morals. Peter Shaw views Holden as a person that is determined to protect other’s innocence and part of his own innocence as well. In Love and Death in The Catcher in the Rye, Shaw writes that part of Holden’s wish to protect innocent is because of his psychological guilt of not protecting Allie, whose death Holden takes guilt for. He writes that Holden prefers to remember people in his life as childish and playful: “Critics have interpreted

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