The Catcher Essay

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It is a fact of life that no one can remain young forever. Some teenagers cannot wait to grow up and get out on their own away from childish rules and parental limitations. For other teenagers the thought of the adult world conjures images of negativity and responsibilities such as going to work everyday, dealing with undesirable people, and being part of a stiff society. However, mediums do exist between these two contrasting worlds. Unfortunately, Holden Caulfield, an adolescent struggling with growing up in the novel The Catcher in the Rye, is not aware of these mediums. To him the two worlds seem to be as different as heaven and hell with no purgatory in between. Holden has no positive adult role models, his only concern is preserving …show more content…
He goes on to say that even if lawyers did save innocent people it would not be that they really wanted to help, they would just do it for the attention and hype (Salinger 172). All of these examples show Holden’s extreme view of the adult world. He does not have what most people would consider rational ideas about growing up.
Holden’s first hand experiences reinforce these ideas of an awful adult world. Mr. Antolini is an old teacher of Holden’s and his last hopes of finding an innocent adult role model for him self (Lundquist 31). Mr. Antolini talks to Holden for a long time but finally finishes and Holden falls asleep. He awakes to Mr. Antolini stroking and petting his head. Horrified at this seemingly homosexual advance, Holden’s hope of an adult role model dies and he reverts into childhood, fantasy, and psychosis (Lundquist 33). Holden goes on to say that that kind of thing has happened to him about twenty times since he was a kid and he can’t stand it (Salinger 193). Now, because of his traumatizing experiences, Holden’s view of adults is permanently negative and suspicious.
This negative and suspicious attitude towards adults and maturity drives Holden to try to preserve innocence, his own as well as others. One of the themes in the novel is phony versus honest. This closely relates to the theme of children because children are never phony in Holden’s mind. Children are associated with honesty, innocence and sincerity – Holden’s ideals (French 95). The

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