The Adolescent Crisis of The Catcher in the Rye Essays

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The Adolescent Crisis of The Catcher in the Rye

Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is valid, realistic, representation of the adolescent world. The book is about adolescent crisis.

The main character, Holden, runs away from his expensive school because he is an academic failure and finds intolerable the company of so many phoneys. Holden is a rangy sixteen year old who has grown too fast. Girls are on his mind. Whenever girls do something pretty, even if they're ugly or stupid, you fall half in love with them. "Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made up a rule that I was
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Yet, Holden's own sex drive is very much alive; it is part of the irresistible thrust toward adulthood. He does not want to deny it; in this respect he wants to be grown up.

The action of the novel is centered around the athlete Stradlater, who is a "very sexy bastard," and who has borrowed Holden's jacket and girl. When he returns from the date Holden provokes him into a fight. "Get your dirty stinking moron knees off my chest," says Caulfield to Stradlater. "You're a stupid dirty sonuvabitch of a moron." After the fight he goes next door to Ackley's room for companionship. That guy had everything wrong with him; sinus trouble, pimples, lousy teeth, halitosis, crumby fingernails. "You had to feel a little sorry for the crazy sonuvabitch." But he can find no comfort or solace in the room which stinks of dirty socks. "I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden, I almost wished I was dead."4

It is, however, the imminently dangerous quality of sex that is frightening. When Holden asks his roommate if he had sex, "That's a professional secret, buddy." When Holden recalls for this "sexy bastard" how he had met Jane and goes on to say that he used to play checkers with her. Stradlater's contemptuous comment is "Checkers, for Chrissake!" This girl, who had had a "lousy childhood" with a booze hound for a stepfather running "around the goddamn house naked, always kept her kings in the back row."5 The symbolism of this

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