The Battle of Adolescence in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Adolescence is stressful and confusing to say the least, and is a time in one’s life where one begins to discover who they are and what they want as they transition into the adult world. In J.D. Salinger’s classic American novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden, is a downhearted teenage boy used by Salinger in order to portray universal themes to the reader including isolation, loss of innocence, and the phoniness of the adult world. Through Salinger’s use of symbolism, the reader is able to ponder Holden and his struggles as he embarks into adulthood in order to come to a deeper understanding of the themes Salinger’s symbols represent. One of the most widely recognized symbols of the book is Holden’s curiosity about the ducks in Central Park. Holden longs for answers to his question of where the ducks go in the winter. “The ducks. Do you know by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves—go south or something? (107). As the ice freezes over the pond and winter comes, the ducks leave, able to escape the brutal winter and the ice for a more pleasant, warmer climate to the south. Holden longs to avoid being apart of the adult world that is engulfed with phoniness, but is unable to understand how to do so. “The fish don’t go no place. They stay right where they are, the fish. Right in the goddamn lake… Their bodies take in nutrition and all, right through the goddamn seaweed and

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