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The Characterization Of Bildungsroman In The Catcher In The Rye

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A "bildungsroman is a special kind of novel that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of its main character from his or her youth to adulthood."(Bildungsroman: A Literary Device). In The Catcher In The Rye, the author creates a successful bildungsroman through the characterization of the novel's protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Throughout the novel, Holden uses a jarred voice filled with cynicism and the overall tone is clearly depressing. The "conflict between Holden and the values of society"(Bildungsroman: A Literary Device) is quite clear as he believes that the world of an adult is filled with pain and disappointment. In The Catcher In The Rye, the methods of characterization used to develop Holden, are his actions throughout…show more content…
However, during his encounter with Sunny he refuses to have sex with her and thinks about calling Jane as deep inside he craves real affection. This shows that he is steadily maturing into a sensible adult. His sensible nature is also displayed when "misadventure piles on misadventure, but he bears it all with a grim cheerfulness and stubborn courage. He is finally saved as a result of his meeting with his little sister Phoebe."(Burger) Holden's ability deal with aspects of society directed to adults such as liquor, sex and nightclubs shows that he is maturing into an adult. At the end of the novel, Holden cries and says that "he felt so damn happy, to tell the truth" when he sees Phoebe riding the carousel. He is overwhelmed with joy because Phoebe displays the innocence he wants to protect but also knows that she is out of his reach and have to face the world of an adult at a certain point. This shows that he has finally grown into an adult and knows what an adult must go through in society. All this shows that Holden has grown into a sensible adult from an immature teenager through his actions and helps in creating a successful bildungsroman.
The author of The Catcher In The Rye also uses Holden's speech and language as a method of characterization. Holden narrates the entire plot in a colloquial teenage language filled with profanity which is nothing like what a matured
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