F. D. Salinger 's Catcher Of The Rye

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J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye features a complex narrative surrounding a troubled young student, Holden Caulfield. Difficulties he faces throughout the story force Holden to confront his fears of adulthood and maturation and the responsibilities therein through the difficulties he faces throughout the story. Academic controversy surrounds whether Holden learns from these confrontations and adjust accordingly, maturing throughout the story. While initially this seems rather subjective, a thorough analysis of Holden’s actions throughout the story as well as of the symbolism injected by Salinger makes it quite clear that Holden does undergo a significant maturity arc as the story progresses. Holden’s social development and maturation…show more content…
Despite his longing for acceptance, “His efforts to connect with any stereotypical kid his age result in abject failure“(Privitera 204). Salinger thoroughly emphasizes this through Holden’s relationships with Stradlater and Ackley, with both of whom he has a strenuous and artificial relationship, demonstrated by his internal, flippant commentaries on his peers as he discusses them in the book (Salinger 31-40). Holden’s peers ostracize him due to his more introspective and introverted nature, as seen in Stradlater’s angry response to Holden’s reflective response to this writing assignment, saying that he doesn’t “do one damn thing the way [he’s] supposed to”(Salinger 47). These difficulties stem not from deficiencies of his peers, but rather a problem of Holden’s refusal to accept anything different from what he expects, making excuses about his reasons throughout the book to cover his actions. His rationalization of his internal wants and desires impedes any proper connection he could possibly make with his peers. He, “Subconsciously longs to be accepted yet feels he cannot make the connection”(Privitera 205). This directly correlates with Holden’s dubbing of many people, practices, or labeling things as “phony.” He refers to the school and each of the students individually as “phony,” and calling out, “Sleep tight, ya morons!”(59) when he leaves Pencey for the last time. This demonstrates Holden’s use of “phoniness” to describe anything that doesn’t meet his
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