Afraid Of Change Essay

1562 words - 6 pages

Change is an inevitable process of life and often it can be extremely difficult to deal with. A change can be as small and insignificant as changing a habit, or maybe even as huge as switching schools or death. The Catcher in the Rye is a novel about the main character’s, Holden’s, journey of growing up. He experiences many varying types of changes. Holden is afraid of change and in many situations throughout the novel, he resists both change and the process of maturity. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the motif of the Museum of Natural History is the main object that helps to develop the theme of Holden’s fear of change, and it is obvious that he fears change and complexity more and more as the story progresses, eventually resulting in him becoming irritated by even the slightest of changes.
As Holden's thoughts about the Museum of Natural History demonstrate, he does not like change and would rather everything to be constant and easily understandable, just like the displays in the museum. In Holden's case, he has a good reason to be afraid of change. He has had to change schools numerous times, while also having to deal with the death of his little brother Allie. He has a hard time adjusting to changes in his life. In chapter 16, when Holden was killing time before his date with Sally, he decided to walk to the Museum of Natural History. This is very telling of who Holden is that he would walk from Central Park all the way to the museum. For Holden, the museum could arguably be considered one of his favorite places. The museum provides him with the comfort of something that is unchanging. He loves that life in the museum is frozen, silent, and always the same. Holden says, "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish...Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you” (Salinger ??). In addition, I think the reason why Holden specifically likes the Eskimo in the display case is because the Eskimo is incapable of changing. Holden constantly calls people phonies because he believes a phony is someone who changes to fit into society and pretends to be something they are not. In Holden’s eyes, he admires that the Eskimos are not phonies. Although it is hundreds of years later, the Eskimos are still the same as they were when they were alive so many years ago. He struggles though, with the fact that he has changed each time visits, while the displays in the museum remain completely the same. When Holden tells the story about the trips he used to make as a kid to the Museum of Natural History, the reader gets a sense for his love of those old and innocent times. It is hard for Holden to accept that those times are gone forever. I believe it is because of this that when he actually reaches the museum, he decides not to go in. In...

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