Essay on The Search For Self Identity

811 Words Feb 10th, 2014 4 Pages
The Search for Self Identity During adolescence and sometimes even to late adulthood, people are searching for their identity, a relatively clear and stable sense of who one is and what one stands for (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006). Identity formation is the central task of adolescence, according to Erik Eriksons’s theory of psychosocial development (Bernstein, 2008). Erikson believed that identity emerges from an identity crisis, which is the phase when one attempts to develop a self-image as a unique person by using knowledge from childhood. Based off of Erikson’s work, James Marcia formed the four identity statuses of identity development: identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, identity moratorium, and identity achievement …show more content…
The last identity status is identity achievement where there are both a high degree of exploration and commitment. This status is achieved by active exploration and a strong commitment to a specific set of values, beliefs, and life goals. At this status, the youth has decided what values and goals are important to him/her, is able to prioritize what is important to him/her, and have already thought through all the possibilities of who he/she want to be. Holden Caulfield holds the status of identity diffusion, where he has no interest in exploring who he is or committing to anything. His very name, Hold-On-Caul-field is play on word. Caul is a membrane that covers the head of a fetus during birth, so his name symbolizes Holden’s refusal to grow up; he is desperately holding onto “innocence” and childhood. Holden shows his lack of ability to commit from his records of constant expulsion from various prestigious boarding schools. He is extremely harsh and judgmental on other people, calling them “phony” or fake however, this is just Holden own insecurities about himself. He doesn’t know who he is or what he wants which causes him to be extremely distraught and judgmental about others. Even his younger sister, Phoebe accuses him “You don’t like anything that’s happening” (Salinger, p169). Phoebe understands that growing up is a necessary process and despite being six years younger than Holden, she is angry with his

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