In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden, cannot accept that he must move out of childhood and into adulthood. One of Holden’s most important major problems is his lack of maturity. Holden also has a negative perspective of life that makes things seem worse than they really are. In addition to Holden’s problems he is unable to accept the death of his brother at a young age. Holden’s immaturity, negative mentality, and inability to face reality hold him back from moving into adulthood.
“The Catcher in the Rye is a genuine initiation tale, even though it is only the candidate undergoing the ordeal who is conscious of what his final decision means; the real evidence of the decadence of his world is that the initiators who impose the ordeals upon him are too much wrapped up in themselves even to understand the meaning of their actions. (French)”. In the book, there are many people that have affected Holden’s life so deeply and they are unaware of this fact, like Allie. Allie is what makes Holden the way he is because of him Holden has taken a likeness to contain the innocence of children for them no to go out into reality because he doesn’t want to see children’s dreams to be shattered like
To Holden the phonies in the world allow him to be cynical and to isolate himself as a form of self protection, the second theme. In chapter 12 while at Ernie 's he meets a girl his brother used to see, “All of a sudden, this girl came up to me and said, "Holden Caulfield!" Her name was Lillian Simmons. My brother D.B. used to go around with her for a while... Strictly a phony”(Salinger 96-97). He explains that adults, like Lillian, will always be phonies, and the problem is they can not see it for themselves. Holden admits to this theory in chapter 22 right before the tell his fantasy to be the catcher in the rye. The phoniness is a human concept, and with Holden wishing it did not exist he is wishing for an inhuman world. Due to this he isolates himself as a form of protection from becoming an adult and turning into the phonies he hates. This barrier Holden puts up protects him and destroys him at the same time. He wishes to connect to people again like he did with Jane but has become so cynical that he is afraid he cannot be the way the used to be with her. This constant battle of protection versis cynical realness causes a great deal of problems for
Holden Caulfield is a very, very troubled young boy in a grown up filled world. In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher In The Rye, 16 year old Holden Caulfield is stuck in a rut. He has been expelled from numerous schools, including his current one, Pencey Prep. Holden has been a troubled kid since the death of his older brother, Allie. Allie has played a big role in Holden’s life, and was completely traumatized by his death. Along with those family struggles relating to Allie’s death, Holden has a hard time accepting his adulthood. He wrestles with mental illness and growing up with all of those “phonies”. Even more so, he struggles with the idea of the person he is going to grow into. The environment of The
￼novel were introduced by Salinger because of similar life experiences that he had gone through. One of the events that contributes to Holden using the word “phony” throughout the novel in order to show his hatred for society, was contributed to because of the experiences Salinger had while serving as a sergeant in the Cold War. Salinger as a child was also moved between prep schools just as Holden was. The audience is shown that being stuck in a place like New York City as a teenager is a stressful as you would think. Holden searches throughout New York City looking for truth and his purpose for life. Salinger shows through Holden the struggle of maturing in a society full of adults as a teenager, trying to find their identity. Holden Caulfield
Holden himself is guilty of being phony because he is hypocritical at times throughout the book. Holden is angered by the words written on the school walls because kids will see the word and later think about them.Since he believes in child innocence, he wanted the writings on the walls to be covered. Although, Holden Believes in child innocence he goes around smoking, drinking, and having close experiences with sexual activities. In the novel, he claims to hate people who repeat themselves, yet he repeats the same words over and over again throughout the book. He claims to be illiterate, yet he reads a lot. He says something, and his actions don’t relate with his words, therefore making Holden a
Holden has endured devastations throughout his adolescence, which alter his perception of adulthood. At a very young age Holden is faced with the tragic loss of his brother to leukemia. Which saddens Holden that his brother Allie was unable to even grow up. Holden believes that Allie is perfect since he did not have to endure the pain and tragedy growing up has to offer. Holden wants to protect children from the corruption of adulthood, by being a “catcher in the rye” (Salinger 127). “I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be a catcher in the rye and all.” (Salinger 172-173). Holden believes that adulthood only causes more devastating than he has already endured, which results in him wanting to prolong not only his adolescence but all children’s for as long as
Throughout the novel Catcher and the Rye, the author J.D Salinger presents Holden Caulfield as someone who is battling with growing up and who is putting up barriers. Holden’s brother died when he was eleven years old, meaning he lost his innocence at a young age. Holden keeps this in the inside and lets out his anger by calling everybody “phonies”.He does find comfort in a red hunting hat and his dead brother Allie. Holden's comfort in materialistic hat shows how he doesn’t appreciate the people close to him.
Teenage angst is an inevitable disease. The Catcher in The Rye conveys these tormented times rather well with the situations Holden Caulfield finds himself in. His self-fulfilling prophecies and everyday contradictions put everything into perspective, relating to most young adults, including myself.
That was not the case for Holden. Holden grieved his own way but, losing his little brother led him to losing his innocence. The losing of innocence is the beginning of adulthood. Childhood innocence is what Holden believes to be the ideal state to live in. He is empathetic towards innocence and being able to live in a world without limitations and restraints of adulthood. Holden does not believe that children are victims of phoniness. On the contrary, Holden holds dear in his heart the thought of a perfect, sin-free childhood. He states in the novel, “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything”(211). Holden has came to the conclusion that being the catcher of the rye has no point. In the end he realizes the fall from innocence to maturity is inevitable. All the children are going to experience it and will fall into the clutches of corruption and phoniness eventually. Thus, phoniness being predestined for anyone and everyone. For Holden, phoniness seems to be a characteristic to describe mostly adults around him. In the beginning of the novel, he refers to the headmaster of his school as being a phony. As well as his older brother who works in Hollywood is moderately considered a phony. Just as in the novel, but in reality Hollywood is a very pompous place. It is the lack of sincerity in our society that Holden
In Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye” is a direct reflection of his unstable emotional state: he wants to shield other children from the horrors adulthood, subconsciously because he feels vulnerable and alone in the world, and does not want others to experience that type of pain, as evidenced through Holden’s thoughts during different periods of time in the novel.
In J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, a young man named Holden Caulfield is on the edge of adulthood. He is a bright kid but struggles with many mental diseases mainly because of the passing of his brother Allie. This has caused him to not focus on school and has got him kicked out of many schools. He did not have many friends and he did not like many people. He thought of everyone as phony. Holden does not want to confront adulthood in fear of losing his childhood because of the fear of change, conformity to the phony world and the passing of his younger brother Allie.