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Jd Salinger's: "The Catcher In The Rye"

1361 words - 5 pages

-Think about Holden's vision of the nature of childhood and adulthood. Are the two realms as separate as Holden believes them to be? Where does he fit in?"The Catcher in the Rye", a novel by JD Salinger, is a bildungsroman, which means that it shows the stages of a young character growing up, and becoming mature. However, this novel is actually about trying to escape this infamous compulsory stage of life, in order to remain in the period of pure innocence- childhood. This stage either has arrived, or will arrive in every human's life, and many agree that it is the most difficult emotional stage they have yet to be encountered with. JD Salinger expresses this harsh transitional period using a character called Holden Caulfield, who is17 years of age, as the narrator.Holden Caulfield is reviewing a part of this transitional stage of childhood to adulthood, by describing in great detail, the journey which he takes that leads to his emotional breakdown. When looking back at the days before his emotional breakdown at a psychiatric institute, he describes the as his "madman days". Throughout his madman days, he truly believed that almost everybody he encountered was phony. This is what drove his unstable emotional state into believing that he could defy time: not become a phony adult, but instead, remain innocent- as every child in his eyes was. Another impossible ambition he desired was to also save other children from entering the phony adult world, which he describes metaphorically, with wanting to be "the catcher in the rye".At the beginning of the novel, in Holden's eyes, children were the very epitome of innocence. This was most likely to have been because his younger brother, Allie, had died only a few years before. Holden believed Allie to be an innocent and honest boy, and because of his death, he would never step into the adult world, leaving Holden with nothing more than a memory of pure childhood innocence for his dead brother. Another reason he could believe that childhood is such an innocent part in ones life, is because all he was receiving from the adult world, was a false impression of a completely different lifestyle. What Holden perceived was a life of "phoniness", lies, and a more than complicated love life.Even from before Holden fled to New York, he was bothered by the fact that the adult world is cruel. He could not accept the fact that his room mate at Pencey Prep, Stradtlater was taking advantage of an old crush he had once over the summer. He did not believe that what Stradtlater was doing was right and also believed the sexual activity that Stradlater was having with other girls was wrong, and saying "sex is something I just don't understand. I swear to God I don't"- Page 56, Chapter 9.Some examples of the people that he meets on his trip to New York, and at his various schools were in fact phony, and this is what encouraged him to make the generalization of the adult world on these few surrounding faces. However, what Holden...

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