Theme of Maturity in The Bean Trees and The Catcher in the Rye

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How does one know that a person is maturing? Are there signs? What defines maturity? “A mature person assumes responsibility for his or her actions” (“Maturity”) but does that mean someone who cannot do that should not be considered mature? In The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, both Holden and Taylor go through a period in their lives where they start “putting aside ‘toys’ and fantasies...seeing the world as it really is” (“Maturity”). For Taylor, adulthood is thrust upon her when she “inherits” Turtle, while for Holden it takes till the end of the book--when he is with Phoebe--to realize. From the very beginning of the novel Taylor “[has] serious intentions...[intends] to drive out of …show more content…
He throws away his vision of the world watching his sister “throwing away fantasy to live in reality” (“Maturity”). Throughout the book, Taylor meets a lot of challenges that cause her to take a different look at the life she was raised with. One of the challenges she is faced with is prejudicism. When she meets Estevan and Esperanza, Taylor is struck with how judgmentally and unfairly people are really treated, and she realizes how her life seems so much easier in comparison. While society views immigrants as ‘dumb’, Estevan is clearly very articulate, more so than even Taylor. “I have always thought you had a wonderful way with words,” (Kingsolver 158) Estevan tells Taylor one day while they wait for his bus. She thinks of his English “beautifully,” and recognizes that he is clearly the more intelligent person than most of the people in the town. With everything he has taught her and by getting to know him, Taylor sees how unjust prejudicism really is. Holden is stuck with the idea that “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that’s impossible, but it’s too bad anyway” (Salinger 122). Even when he got to the carrousel he continues to believe that “...the nice thing about carrousels, they always play the same song” (Salinger 210). The change scares him, but he realizes telling people to be scared didn’t help ‘nothing’.
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