Catcher in the Rye, All Quiet on the Western Front, A Separate Peace, Great Expectations, and Romeo

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The Search for Identity in Catcher in the Rye, All Quiet on the Western Front, A Separate Peace, Great Expectations, and Romeo and Juliet

Adolescence is a time when everything we've ever known is being changed. Relationships, friends, thoughts, and other things that shape who we are become more awkward and confusing and are changed from what they have been in the past. Consequently, we will change also because all these things shape who we are. During a period of such change, it's hard to know who we really are. Adolescence is the time when we find out who we truly are, but not until we know who we aren't. Adolescents use common words, actions, and rivalries to try to define their unique personalities, goals, and ideas. They label
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It may seem as though he has "no direction in life" (Salinger 59), but the direction he is taking is simply a confusing and ever-changing one that all adolescents must take. This is a journey "you have to walk, no matter how far or how high up" (Salinger 88) and although it looks as though Holden is walking aimlessly back and forth between personalities, he is walking back and forth between them trying to find the one that describes him as perfectly as possible.

This idea of labeling is especially evident in war, where soldiers carry a literal declaration of who they are with them everywhere in the color of their uniform and flag. Paul, of All Quiet on the Western Front, enlists in the war because he thinks that it will give him a purpose and a clear definition of himself that he and everyone else can understand. Being adolescents, he and his classmates and then war comrades have lives that "had as yet taken no root" (Remarque 20), and the war seems like a worthwhile place to plant themselves. The problem with this decision is that the soil war grows out of is thin, rocky, and uncertain. Coming right from high school and their parents' supervision, they don't know how to grow straight without a guide, nor do they have "a background which is so strong that the war cannot obliterate it" (Remarque 20) like the older men. Caught with one leg stepping over the great chasm that lies between

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