Why does Holden fear adulthood? Essay

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Why does Holden fear adulthood?

The novel catcher in the rye is set in the 1950’s and is narrated by a young boy called Holden Caulfield who is sixteen years old. He tells the story between the end of his school term and Christmas break. We know he is in a mental hospital and is telling the story of a few days he spent in New York city, he shares his feelings, emotions and opinions against the world surrounding him.

Holden Caulfield, he is a person who feels the need to be in control of everything in his life, but the problem comes when he finds himself in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Holden wants and tries to act like an adult, but is unable to accept the fact he is becoming one, perhaps because of his
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If he is not content with who surrounds him, it makes it quite difficult for him to fit in.
Besides, Holden also shows a fear towards change;

"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" (Pg 122).

A fear of change blocks our minds to receive it when we have to, his changing without wanting to restricts him in opening up to people. His fear of change and adulthood is clearly shown with the ducks, where he notices things are changing and his childhood memories are slowly fading and common things he used to see are disappearing.

The paradox is shown when Holden acquires many different aspects of adulthood, such as his drinking in bars, hiring a prostitute and dancing with ladies at bars. Holden wants to be able to do what ever he wants inside a glass case, where he cannot be considered a phony, but he will be able to do everything a phony does. We see many examples of this throughout the novel.

Holden has certain issues with intimacy; even though he constantly talks about it and before we find out he is a virgin we might consider he has experienced it. Holden wants it to happen, but can’t make it happen. “I came quite close to doing it a couple of times, though” (pg 92).

This again represents how Holden wants to become part of the adult world unconsciously yet is still attached to his childhood feelings,

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