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Holden In The Catcher In The Rye, By J.D. Salinger

1183 words - 5 pages

In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist, a 16-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield who lives in the 1940s, struggles to concur with the views of his society. After getting kicked out of boarding school once again, Holden runs away to New York. He decides to have an adventure of his own, instead of returning home. Holden's experiences in New York lead to further disruptions in his life, which eventually cause him to be put in rehab. Holden would struggle with the same issues if he were a teenager living today. If Holden Caulfield lived today, he would be able to relate to more people through modern technology like cell phones, the Internet, and social media; however he would be even more hypocritical and at odds with the world because he would disapprove of other people’s use of these technologies, which would make him feel even more alienated.
Holden hates that the world around him is constantly changing, and that people keep leaving, because he knows that the places and people he was once comfortable with are most likely very different from when he was younger. While Holden is in New York, he decides to pay a visit to the Museum of Natural History where he often used to go as a kid. When looking at an Eskimo in a display case, Holden comes to the conclusion that “certain things they should stay the way they are. You should be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (122). Holden wants to be able to depend on people and places he knows will always be the same, especially as the world is changing around him. Therefore, living in a time where everything revolves around the use of technology which enables the world to change at a very fast pace, would only intensify Holden’s feelings. Also, trends that generate through social media change from being “in” to being “out” before one knows something was even “in.” This would cause Holden to feel unstable. More so than in the 1940s, today’s Holden would be longing for something or someone to be his “rock” in a fast paced and often confusing world.
Holden cares deeply about the innocence of children, because he believes that the path to adulthood is where people become corrupt and loose everything that once made them decent. When Holden is planning to hitchhike out west and live life as a deaf-mute person, he pays a visit to Phoebe’s school, in order to drop off a note for her, telling her to meet him so he can say goodbye. While at her school, Holden notices that “somebody’d written ‘Fuck you’ on the wall. It drove [him] damn near crazy. [He] thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them” (201). Holden hates the fact that little innocent children like his sister are being exposed to such horrendous ideas. All Holden really wants is for kids to stay kids and never grow up. He thinks that once children grow up, they become just like...

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