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How A Teenager Deals With Alcohol, Sex, And Violence In J.D Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye"

1061 words - 4 pages

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger, depicts how a lonely teenager, Holden Caulfield, deals with alcohol, sex, and violence. Teenagers must also deal with these problems daily.Alcohol is very predominate throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye. Alcoholic beverages are a readily available, and relatively inexpensive for minors to get. Over the past couple of years, teenage consumption of alcohol has risen dramatically. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that more than 1.3 million teenagers have a drinking problem. The National Institute also reports that the reason for underage teenage drinking is they believe in a mixture of rebellion towards their parents and a sign of maturity. Another reason for teenage drinking is it represents a daring gesture. According to Dr. Joseph Franklin, "The way drinking starts is, one kid dares another kid to take a drink of alcohol, and the kid doesn't want his friends to think he is a coward so he does. Then the rest of them follow."In the book, Between Parent and Teenager, it states the substance abuse is the number one cause of death amongst teenagers. Studies show that among high school students age 14 - 17, 60% of the students use alcohol once a week, 75% use it at least once a month, and 85% have used it once in the year.In the novel, Holden Caulfield has very easy access to alcoholic beverages. Throughout the novel, it seems that every time Holden gets depressed, he turns towards alcohol. in Chapter 12, Holden is at Ernie's night club and he got served even though he was only a minor. In Chapter 20, Holden gets drunk. The way he acted when he was drunk shows how pathetic you are when you can not function properly.The next topic, sex, is a very common word nowadays. Sex is so common it is on television screens, blown up on billboards, and used for commercial enticement. It also seems that teenage men are purchasing cars and teenage girls are receiving more freedom from their parental figures. A couple years back, women did not have the same freedoms as they do today. It also seems that there is a lack of parental supervision and kids are getting away with a whole lot more, than in recent years. Sex isn't a forbidden topic, like in the sixties. Parents today either tell their kids about it or they totally avoid the subject. According to Between Parent and Teenager, one unidentified mother said," Whenever my son asks me something about sex, my face turns crimson and I avoid his question."According to The Search for Structure , in 1979, 53 % of the teenage boys were not virgins. In 1985, 46% of the boys were not. That is a good sign. It means boys are becoming more aware of teenage pregnancy and the consequences. In 1987, one million teenage girls became pregnant. Out of this, 470,000 were birth's, 400,000 were abortions, and 130,000 were miscarriages.Holden talks about and encounters sex constantly in the novel. In one of the...

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