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“That’s Life” An Analysis Of Holden Caulfield

695 words - 3 pages

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger supersedes the norm by staying painfully in the deepest part of the average, for it contains topics that people can relate to (such as, cynicism, nostalgia, and bitterness of life). One of the grand topics the novel discusses is an individuals identity, and how Holden Caulfields identity is shaped through the adversity he faces. Quentin Crisp once said “The young always have the same problem -- how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” Holdens desire to be an individual (a rebel without a cause), hatred of phoniness, and guilt over Allies death creates a substantial conflict.

Conformity can be defined in many ways, depending on the person and their situation. In Holdens case conformity is the choice to grow up and move on from childish antics. Holden, however, chooses to be wedged between a world of a child's innocence and the complex world of adulthood. He deities his two younger siblings, Allie and Phoebe, as if the were contenders for sainthood because of his fixation on childhood. He’d want to have everything frozen, where nothing changes, just like the museum with the indians; “ The best thing though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move.” Holdens choice to stay an individual in complete aloofness causes hardships in his life, for in a sense, conformity is the remedy for isolation and Holden chooses not to take his medicine.

Abraham Maslows hierarchy theory shows acceptance as one of mans most important goals in life. Holden does not want to accept anyone and his undoubtedly forthcoming fait, however assumes everyone else is to accept him and his ways. Holdens seemingly obsessive love for his sister, Phoebe and her innocence, blinds him from accepting that she is changing and growing as well (Phoebe is the one actually critical of Holdens...

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