Catcher in the Rye: the Naivety of Childhood
Summary: Discusses J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." Describes main character Holden Caulfield's fixation on childhood. Details how he struggles through teenage life because he cannot accept the responsibilities that come with growing up.
In the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D Salinger, the main character, Holden, is a teenager who refuses to grow up because he is naively fixated on childhood. Throughout the novel, Holden struggles through teenage life because he cannot accept the given responsibilities that come with growing up. Holden is obsessed with childhood because he chooses to be wedged between a world of the innocence of children and the complex world of adulthood. Holden deities his two younger siblings as if they're candidates for sainthood because of his fixation.
Holden is a teenager who refuses to grow up because he is afraid of gaining the responsibilities that come with it. So, Holden struggles hard to stay childish. For example, throughout the book, he does not want to take responsibility to communicate with others that may want to help him. He refuses to go home and confront his parents and face the consequences. Along with this, he also pulls the childish silent treatment toward his parents; because that's the only knife he has to hurt them: ."..she wouldn't've been the ones that answered the phone. My parents would be the ones. So that was out." (pg. 59) He is afraid to talk to people close to him because they'll be critical to him. This would also explain his lack of interaction with Jane Gallagher: ."..I kept standing there, of giving old Jane a buzz- I mean calling her long distance at B.M... The only reason I didn't call him was because I wasn't in the mood." (pg. 63) Since he is afraid of interaction with people close to him, he tries to get strangers to talk to, so the conservations he has with them won't go too into depth. He does not want to face the world of reality. For example, in chapter nine, Holden asks his cab driver, who is a complete stranger to him, for a cocktail once he's done driving Holden to the Edmont Hotel: "Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail"" (pg. 60) Therefore, Holden will try to get some random stranger for a beer, as they won't criticize him.
Among other responsibilities, Holden tries to set rules up for himself like an adult, but ends up breaking them right away: "Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it though, the same week I made it- the same night, as a matter of fact." (pg. 63) Holden cannot maintain his rules, and ends up acting like a child, who needs someone else to set the rules up for him.
However, Holden does show some transition toward adulthood. For example, he has...