The Catcher in the Rye as a Coming-of-Age Story Essay

841 Words Feb 22nd, 2013 4 Pages
The Catcher in the Rye can be read as a coming-of-age story. How does Holden’s Character change or mature during the course of the novel? To what extent are there TWO Holden Caulfields in the book, and what is the difference between them?

The novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D Salinger is a coming-of-age story. It follows the short tale of Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy, who throughout his experiences in the novel, changes and becomes more mature and independent. The story essentially has two Holden Caulfields, the one telling the story, and the one that the story is being told about. This essay will look at the differences and similarities between the two Holden’s’.

It is obvious that the Holden Caulfield who is in the
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The self-narration of Holden’s life is what gives the reader an insight into the way he thinks and feels. It helps you understand why Holden is the way he is. Without this explanation from him, you wouldn’t empathise with him, or like him very much at all. It’s the little stories he tells, like the story about Allies baseball mitt, “…Allie had this left-handed fielders mitt… he had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere. In green ink.” (Salinger, 1945-6, p.33) or about how he knows Jane Gallagher, “You were never even worried, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was, you were happy. You really were” (Salinger, 1945-6, p.72) that make you see the softer side to him.
Holden’s connection with his little brother Allie was very special to him. This is evident in the way he talks about Allie. He holds Allie up to these great expectations, saying “You’d have liked him” (Salinger, 1945-6, p.33) and convincing you how great he was and how intelligent and special he was. You are now able to connect and sympathise for Holden, because he has told you all about the things that mean most to him, and you can’t help but feel a little sorry for him.

Although there are essentially two Holdens, there are still traits that remain the same. Throughout the story, Holden feels the need to explain and justify himself, as though people don’t believe him. Holden tells the story
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