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The Catcher in the Rye, a novel written by J.D. Salinger, starts by Holden Caulfield, the main character, talking about his time alone the weekend before he had gone home. Holden struggles to fit into society, he finds talking with others frustrating, but- most of all- he has a hard time trying to find himself. Holden looks for advice from different personalities to get some insight into their views even though Holden seems to be taking the growing up mentality, he wants to keep it for himself.
Over the course of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden rebels against age and maturity (calling these people phony), he protects innocence, and he struggles with running away; ultimately, he grows up and matures when he realizes that innocent children must grow up while his sister Phoebe rides the carousel
Holden shows his initial immaturity in his actions. He rebels against age and maturity. He attempts "to solve problems on the useless side of life" while treating others with intense criticism (Irving 81).
He calls people phony as a way to rebel against adulthood. He calls his brother out for his adult occupation: "Now he's out in Hollywood, D.B. being a prostitute" because he writes screenplays and not serious books (Salinger 4), and yet Holden can't seem to stay enrolled in a school. Holden can see everyone else's faults but his own, and that is a type of phoniness in itself. Holden refuses to grow up. This is the way he treats people.
He says he likes Jane, but when it comes to calling her or connecting with her, he refuses to do so.
He makes up excuses like he "wasn't in the mood" (Salinger 71). Holden believes that any person who is not fully true at all times is a phony. Holden is afraid to call or have any kind of contact with Jane because he doesn't want to bear to know that she is growing up while he wants to stay a kid and he wants her to stay a kid with him. Holden is afraid that she will lose her innocence just by growing up, but sooner or later we all have to grow up. Like when Holden is worried "that stradlater may have have had sexual relations with jane, the destruction of innocence is an act of irremediable evil to Holden" (Baumbach 467).
Holden is quite an interesting character because his attitude toward life is very concrete. He tries to be an adult by drinking heavily, but he complains like a child. Holden participates only in the useless side of life. When Mr. Spencer says, "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules" (Salinger 11). Readers can see the problems Holden goes through in finding himself. Holden sees other people's actions differently because to him, they have different motives. Holden seems to question his surroundings, and he calls them fake because he would do things differently. The only thing that he considers the worth of value is childhood. Holden has a big attachment to his little sister and the memories they share. It's probably the only thing that keeps him from carrying out his thoughts and keeps him from losing his mind.
Holden rebels against age and maturity. He believes that you should be considered mature when you could "think" for yourself and make your own choices, not when you reached a certain age or certain physical appearance. (From Catcher in the rye) He could not understand how other people in the world would not want a Solid lifestyle. A life that was sure and stable.
He hated being moved around from school to school not having many friends. He decided that it was right to follow the way that was based on hypocrisy and wants. He went against it to create a way of his own in which a good lifestyle would be the ultimate goal: Holden talks about leaving and how it affects him emotionally. Holden is upset with Stradlater because he had just gone on a date with Jane who Holden care deeply for is afraid that he will ruin her innocence which makes himer want to smoke to relieve stress (Salinger 57).
Holden shows signs of rebellion to Mrs. Spencer. He said this in a letter: "Dear Mr. Spencer. That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can't seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is alright with me if you flunk me though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway. Respectfully yours, Holden Caulfield" (Salinger 15) This shows that the rebels against age. J.D.
Salinger uses the hat as a symbol to show the growth of Holden throughout the novel, from a young man who is terrified of becoming an adult to one who begins to accept that he must be able to live in an imperfect world. The meaning of the hat is somewhat open to show an example, the hat could show Holden's personality. It is odd, as is Holden. It's so different that it shows that Holden tries to be different from everyone. The hat shows his "rebellion against the rest of society" (Vanderbilt 271). rebel from society. And yet Holden can't seem to stay enrolled in a school. Holden can see everyone else's faults but his own and that is a type of phoniness in itself. Holden refuses to grow up. This is the way he treats people. He says he likes Jane but when it comes to calling her or connecting with her, he wasn't in the mood to do so. Holden believes that any person who being not fully true at all times is a phony. Despite Holden's highly critical attitude, Holden is being critical by being critical of calling other people of being phonies when he one of the biggest phony in the novel. However, Holden discusses movies that he's Through of in the novel, Holden is always criticizing his peers and adults for being phony. But on the other hand, Holden is not a phony in many ways. Holden Caulfield. If Holden doesn't like someone, it's usually because he thinks he or she is a phony. Some of the phoniest people Holden knows are the adults he has met through school. it could be the reason Holden has been kicked out of four different boarding schools for academic failure? He struggles to find any sincerity in the adults at these schools. From one principle, he finds him totally fake: "if a boys mother was sort of fat or corny looking, or something, and if somebody's father was one of those guys that wear those suits with very big shoulders [...] then old Haas would just shake hands with them and give them a phony smile, and then he'd go talk for maybe a half an hour with somebody else's parents" (Salinger 17).
Holden gets in a very bad condition after his younger brother Allie dies from Leukemia. He gets mentally ill and suffers from serious depression. Holden goes through tough times in which he has a lot of trouble finding friends and keeping good relationships.
Relationships and sexuality are big topics in the novel, which come up very often. Holden is always on the look for a new friend but he always turns away in the last moment. When Holden interacts with women in the novel, he is very different than when he interacts with men. The women characters in the book all are very important because they represent. Holden is an Innocent young boy who is scared of sex and all that is involved with sexual relations with women. Like when Holden frequently thinks about a girl named Jane and even though she never shows up in the story he thinks of her a lot. She seems to be the one girl that of his age whom he genuinely likes.
Holden's relationship with his sister Phoebe is a strong one like any other brother and sister relationship. Although he is a bit too caring and protective of her because he doesn't want her to see the process of being an adult, he wants her to stay ten years old forever. Holden knows from his own experience life isn't easy growing up and most of all he doesn't want his sister to lose herself.
Holden soon learns that Phoebe can stay ten forever and he can't avoid being an adult. He sees it while he is watching Phoebe ride the carousel in Central Park and fears Phoebe will fall off her horse while reaching for a gold ring which gives the winner a free ride, he says, "The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them" (Salinger 232). Holden acknowledges that children must grow up and move on.
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