Holden Caulfield Adolescent

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In J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is seen by some critics as a drop-out student destined for failure in life, but I see him as a symbol of an adolescent who struggles to adapt to the reality of adulthood. Adolescents have a much more strenuous time responding to the dilemmas that arise due to their simple way of thinking that does not compare to the cognitive thinking that adults possess. Because of this, Holden’s behavior does not reflect what may seem like an inevitable negative outcome, but actually a motivation for a life changing plan. In Holden’s ordinary world, problems in many aspects of his life are filled with demoralizing dilemmas that portray him as a failure in life. One of the first pieces of background…show more content…
The idea of running away from the metropolitan to live with Sally in a cabin in the woods excites Holden (Salinger, 146). Running away from the issue is an act of denial or avoidance, which is the first stage of depression that Holden fails to address because it is a natural occurrence in a lot of depressed people (Axelrod, 1). Although Holden tries to circumvent this problem, the grief cycle prevents that from occurring. This act of avoidance is prevented by Sally, who tells Holden of the flaws with his idea by saying “we’re both practically children” (Salinger, 147). This statement confirms that Holden has a childhood perspective and running away will not solve his problems. After Holden’s failed attempt to avoid his problems, he learns that the only method of resolving them is to take actions to address them…show more content…
Strolling around Broadway, Holden finds a “Little Shirley Beans” record, which is a rare record that he wanted to buy Phoebe, and decides to purchase it for five dollars and desperately attempts to find her afterwards (Salinger, 129). The amount of effort invested in Phoebe shows that Holden respects the childhood innocence of his younger sister more the “prostitute” ways of D.B., his older brother. This is similar to Huckleberry Finn enjoying the company of Jim, a former slave that becomes Finn’s comrade, more than the company of anyone else. After making his way home, Holden reads Phoebe’s journals which are full of touching accounts that supposedly “kills him” (Salinger, 177). The gratification the journals give Holden further strengthens the argument that he sees the innocence in children and he wants to preserve them with all his capabilities. Specifically, Holden utters a slightly modified line of a poem to Phoebe that says “If a body meet a body coming through the rye” by saying “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” (Salinger, 191). The misquoting of the poem with the word “catch” presents his desire of a person preventing others from falling into the rye. This can be interpreted as Holden’s eagerness to save children from falling into adulthood because he knows the negative effects of it. The
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