Understanding the Inevitable in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

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Understanding the Inevitable in The Catcher in the Rye

If something is inevitable, it will occur at some point in time. It is an event that will occur no matter what is done to stop it from happening. In the book The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield tries to stop himself from maturing into an adult. The book details the events that happen to show Holden that he cannot overcome maturity because maturity is inevitable.

Holden Caulfield has failed out of three other prep schools before his parents enroll him at Prencey. The first chapter takes place during the last days of Holden’s first term at Prencey. He has failed four of his five classes, and because of this, he has been asked to not return for the next term. The headmaster
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Holden is excited about the possibility of participating in a sexual encounter with Sunny, the prostitute. "I sort of just wanted to get it over with" (Salinger 95). Once she arrives he can not bring himself to complete the act. "...but do you mind very much if we don't do it?" (Salinger 96).

Holden's relationship with his younger sister, Phoebe, provides another example of Holden wanting to mature, but stopping himself before he commits the act. Phoebe, although much younger, chastises Holden for not wanting to mature. "You don't like anything that's happening" (Salinger 169). The things that Phoebe is talking about are rites of passage for maturity - a sexual experience and graduation from school.

Holden is still not convinced that he cannot stay a child forever. Holden shows this in his response to Phoebe's chastisement. "...I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them" (Salinger 173). The ledge Holden wants the children to stay on is childhood while the pit they will eventually fall into is adulthood. He wants to keep everyone, including himself, from becoming an adult.

The inevitable must occur at some point in time. Holden cannot delay maturity forever. Holden finally

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