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Perfection In Not An Option, Catcher In The Rye Essay

1320 words - 5 pages

Geronimo 1
Perfection is not an Option "..he is capable of being anything except for who he truly aims to be - perfect."
14 April 2014

Geronimo 2
Perfection is not an Option
Perfect can be define as being entirely without fault or defect and satisfying all requirements.
Everyone has their own perception of what perfect means. Perfect is what all human beings aspire to
become. Although people aim to be flawless, the fact of the matter is that not a single individual is or
will ever be capable of being perfect. In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden
Caulfield, frequently acts like some sort of god or saint, criticizing anyone that meets the eye or comes
to mind. He is able to comprehend and easily see everyone's flaws but when it comes to his personal
weaknesses, he is completely oblivious. An examination of his refusal to become an adult, how he is
full of hypocrisy, and how he hides his true identity unveils that he is capable of being anything except
for who he truly aims to be - perfect.
If there is one thing that Holden has an extreme passion for, it is hatred towards adulthood. His
burning hostility towards growing up is why he refuses to do so; he makes no effort to become one. He
believes that adults somehow mask their inner psyche and portray to the outer world what is expected
of them. By reaching maturity, adults become materialistic and fornicated, hence Holden thinking that
growing up means becoming a phony. The idea of phoniness does not appeal to him, therefore he
makes no attempt to take things seriously, making plenty of excuses when the topic arises. For
example, when his younger sister, Phoebe, asks him to "name something [he']d like to be" (Salinger
172), and suggests becoming "a lawyer -like [their] Daddy and all" (Salinger 172), he instantly
dismisses her proposal and claims that "lawyers are all right.. but it doesn't appeal to [him]" (Salinger
172). He elaborates on his choice, insisting that lawyers only "make a lot of dough and play golf and
play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot" (Salinger 172). In addition to the
theme of growing up, Holden is unable to accept the fact that he is becoming an adult because he is
capable of seeing into the world of children and comprehending their perspectives. Being seventeen, he

Geronimo 3
acknowledges the mature world as an impure, fouled place which has the opportunity to corrupt kids
and ruin their seemingly perfect perceptions of things. This is how he gets the idea of becoming "the
catcher in the rye" (Salinger 173); he wants to protect all children from having to experience the world
of adults. He does not want them to be exposed to any elements that may take away from the way they
see things- he tries to keep their innocence intact. Although it is respectable for him to be very
passionate about a subject, his disregard to grow towards or arrive at full stature only demonstrates just
how inattentive he is to his own...

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