Theme Of Growing Up In Catcher In The Rye

Better Essays
Growing up is a difficult process that everyone must endure. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden does not cope well with becoming an adult and moving on from the death of his little brother, Allie. He holds on tightly to the memories of his childhood and wishes that he could be a child forever. Holden does not want to grow up because he fears change and does not want to leave his childhood behind.
Holden has a strong connection to Allie and does not want to become an adult because Allie will always be a child. He tells the reader, “What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed. I keep telling him to go home and get his bike and meet me in front of Bobby Fallon’s
…show more content…
He comments, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (121). Since the museum has not changed since he was young, it is easy for Holden to hold onto this part of his childhood and to prevent change while he is there. He also knows that unlike the museum, he changes and is different every time he visits. He observes, “Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.” (121). Although Holden does not like it, he recognizes that each time he returns to the museum he is older and closer to adulthood. The museum is the one thing in Holden’s life that he can rely on to stay the same and he wishes that all aspects of life could be unchanging as well. He tells the reader, “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to just stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (122). The glass cases in the museum represent Holden’s desire to not grow up and to keep things exactly the way they are forever. Holden appreciates the museum because it is unchanging just like he wishes his life could …show more content…
Holden often wants to speak to Jane, but he never gets the courage to do so. He admits, “But when I got inside this phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood anymore to give old Jane a buzz” (150). Holden is worried that if he talks to Jane, she will not be the same person he remembers her to be, and he does not want her to change. Holden also does not want Jane to lose her innocence. He informs the reader, “Everytime I get to the part with Stradlater in that damn Ed Banky’s car, it almost drove me crazy. I knew she wouldn’t let him get to first base with her, but it drove me crazy anyway” (80). Holden believes that protecting others’ innocence will help him to keep his own. If those around him do not grow up, he does not feel obligated to either. Holden reminisces on his time with Jane when he finds out that she and Stradlater go on a date. He requests of Stradlater, “‘Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row’” (34). Although Jane was not a part of Holden’s life as a young child, she still plays a large role in his unwillingness to grow up. Holden wants to know if Jane still has the same habits as she used to because he does not want to have to change along with her.
Holden has difficulty dealing with change because he does not want to grow up and move on from his childhood. Allie’s death greatly contributes to this

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He fears change and does not want to move on from the people he loves most because he cherishes relationships and fears that by growing up, he will lose the connection with them. Holden’s favorite person in the world, Allie, cannot change, so Holden views any growing in others as negative. Holden is so traumatized by his death that he, “Broke all the windows in the…

    • 726 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As a teenage boy, it is expected that Holden is interested in sex, but he makes it expressly clear that he and Jane did not have a sexual history. Holden believes that a sexual relationship is not casual, and therefore should not be treated as such. Although Jane never makes an actual appearance in The Catcher in the Rye, one can discern that Holden seems quite smitten with her. When Stradlater suggests that he and Jane had sex, Holden is furious and even attacks Stradlater: “‘What 'd you do?’ I said. ‘Give her the time in Ed Banky 's goddam car?’” (Salinger, 43) If Stradlater and Jane had had sex, Holden’s image of her would be tainted, and thus would not be a symbol of innocence and purity in his life.…

    • 1134 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Robert chose to spend some time away from Edna because he knew that it was impossible for them to be together. This is showing that Edna indeed experienced an “Awakening” throughout many phases in this novel. Her awakening was sparked and affected by certain people in her life. All the while she is dealing with these two other men, she remains married to her children’s father, Leonce Pontellier.”Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of fate.”(Chopin 7) Leonce is not in the marriage for the romance or a connection but because he is not willing to face society without having the “perfect…

    • 1021 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He wants beautiful moments to last forever and despises change. Everything should stay the same. The world should not change, it should be stuck in just one moment, and that’s the meaning of a peaceful un-phony world to Holden. Holden is very sincere about everything he says. He emphasizes this as he talks about the Museum of Natural History and how year after year nothing changes in the museum from whatever is happening in the glass cases to the order in the long hallway.…

    • 1385 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “He found himself fighting so hard against her staying out all night, but she would not listen.” “Saturday Climbing, (3)”. Barry is filled with doubt about Moira surrounding herself with positive friends; he fears she will make bad decisions. Quite frankly, Barry is remarkably against her making greater independence, the reason behind this being for the sake of him not wanting her to take on so much responsibility, especially for only being sixteen years old. Barry seems to have an internal conflict about the future and how it will play out for his daughter and him, and is fearful about if that means they…

    • 641 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    After a long talk my brother and sister decided that they wanted to see how it would go. I really didn 't want to go, like I said before I had a lot of aggression pint up and did not want to see that man. After a while of thinking I finally decided to be the bigger man and go for my brother and sister because if I didn 't trust him and I wanted to be there I wasn 't about to let my little brother and sister go by themselves. Later that night we called our father up and told him we would be okay with seeing him that weekend and he could pick us up Friday…

    • 1066 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Whereas, the people in the town who weren’t enlisted, didn’t experience these tragic events themselves which disheartened Krebs because they didn’t understand first hand the impacts, challenges and consequences of this war in particular. He also demonstrates this idea through his mother and younger sister. In conversations with his mother, she tried making small talk about the war with him but he noticed how she wasn’t really interested or didn’t want to know. He believed that his mother wouldn’t have understood anyways. He implied that he resented her doing this because he was ready to talk about his experiences at war and his perspective but his mother didn’t want to hear about the truths of war, and possibly didn’t want change.…

    • 1119 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The novel would have been so different if Holden was able to change. Change is Holden’s biggest obstacle. He is constantly going back to the source of his depression and loneliness. If he had overcome this obstacle that he is constantly going back and isolating himself, Holden would be living a better life. “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was.…

    • 821 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Oskar: Movie Review

    • 967 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Oskar says that if people tell him their stories, he’d feel better, but he doesn’t want to feel better, he just want the lock that fits the key. Why doesn’t he want to feel better? Oskar is afraid to feel better because, in order for him to recover, he has to accept that his father is dead. Oskar struggles with understanding why something like 9/11 would happen, as well as struggles to accept that his best friend, his dad, is gone. Additionally, the pain he holds is already overwhelming for him, so to accept his father’s death, would result in increased challenges and then eventually growth.…

    • 967 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    I don 't know how to approach them, don 't get me wrong, I have guy friends, but when it comes to getting to know me and see if we could be more than friends I tend to push them away. Both of my parents are the reason why I can 't communicate in a proper way and last with a guy. She was able to communicate about marriage, but didn 't give me permission to talk to guys when I was growing up, how does she expect me to get married if I don 't know how to keep a…

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays