Catcher in the Rye: Fear of Change and Loneliness

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Everyone struggles with change and loneliness in one shape or form every day. While some of us only know how we handle these problems, it would help us more if we knew how others handled them. In Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield, a now ex-Pencey Prep student grapples with all of his many fears and problems. All while traveling around New York so not to go home and face his angry parents. Holden, who experienced the death of a close family member at a young age had problems with school; and was expelled from many. Now, as Holden is traveling through New York he is recalling past memories and struggling to find his way. Making some possible bad choices along the way, though in the end Holden realizes what he needs to do. Throughout the book many themes are present, through how Holden reacts. The themes of fear of change and loneliness are ever present in Catcher in the Rye, they both stop one from moving forward and they co-exist together.
J.D. Salinger shows that fear of change can stop one from moving forward. The first impactful example J.D. Salinger shows us of Holden’s fear of change is when Holden goes into any detail relating to the museum. Holden relishes in the fact that every time you go to the museum it stays the same, and even recalls that is how the museum was when he visited there as a child. When he was a child, Holden had one opinion about what he thought was the best part of the museum, “the best things, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (121). Holden clearly enjoyed that the museum stayed the same when he was a child and he still does now that he is older. Holden wants to hold onto these memories of when he was younger so he does not have...

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...his life so that he was not as lonely, while realizing that things need to change.
Holden experiences loneliness and the fear of change throughout the novel, where they both stop him from moving forward and they co-exist in his personal experiences. The fear of the change stops Holden from moving forward in ways that deal with when he was younger and his parents, for he does not want to move on from his childhood and have his parents change him. While Holden is stopped from moving forward by loneliness, because he refuses to let more people into his life and learn more about him. Though the fear of change and loneliness both create a unique pattern in Holden’s life where there are times when he does not want to be lonely, but because of his fear of change, he refuses to open up to others. Everyone deals with change and loneliness on a daily basis, even Holden.

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