Coming of Age in Catcher in the Rye

1139 WordsNov 11, 20125 Pages
The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is a coming of age story. It is a story narrated by the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who is a sixteen year old boy, but has a mind of a ten year old innocent kid. In the beginning he thinks of innocence as important, but later he realizes that growing up cannot be stopped. He wanders around the New York City by himself and gains experience of life that teaches him to become mature. This book is clearly written to show the theme of coming of age because it shows many symbols of coming of age, it shows the changes of young adults in modern life, and it creates an image of Holden growing up. There are many symbols that represent coming of age in this book. The author hides the…show more content…
J.D Salinger expresses Holden growing up in a vivid image where people can see the clear view of Holden rising upward to be an adult. Throughout the book, Holden ostracizes himself in the society and makes him lonely. The readers can visualize Holden maturing when he realizes that not everybody is his enemy. For instance, when Holden leaves his teacher’s house in fear because the teacher was petting his head; he wondered “if just maybe [he] was wrong about thinking [the teacher] was making a flitty pass at [him]” (194). When he starts wondering if it was his own fault, it exemplifies that Holden is deeply thinking about his acts toward other people. His thinking can also relate to the last sentence “don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” (202). The last sentence is an example of Holden setting his importance on the people around him. But with all the obstacles that he goes through, he realizes that people that are involved in his life are an important factor of his life, and regrets having a live social life. This realization is an example of coming of age because we can truly see Holden’s thinking of what he thinks of a good life is which involves people around him. Many readers will agree that The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age, but some may disagree that it is not because of Holden’s personal view of children. The disagreement may have resulted from Holden’s childish acts, such as, being
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