The Catcher in the Rye: J.D. Salinger

932 Words4 Pages
J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye depicts a short span in the life of a sixteen-year-old boy who has a lot to say about others yet recognizes little about himself, in the beginning of the book. Holden Caulfield is not your typical bildungsroman protagonist. From open to close, the story only details a few days of life. This novel gives a new twist to the typical Bildungsroman story, as many might question if Holden ever does mature by the end of the book but it's observed that Holden goes through character development, despite it being in the last moment of the book itself, as he comes terms with himself and realizes that the fantasy of being the catcher of the rye the that life is, is a dream he no longer finds desirable. During the novel, Holden has several fluctuations in emotion and goes through many trials in which he thinks he's acting mature. Holden's time in the city is impulsive. However, at the end of the book, he comes to terms with himself and Holden speaks with some clarity even though he claims that "he doesn't know" what he will do in the future. With this, there's a tone of acceptance lingering in that statement. He accepts the ambiguity of life. Holden develops a lot from being the cynical teen who tries to act mature while actually coming off as the opposite, to the person we see in the end, despite it being for a few fleeting words. It may not be much, but in the final words of the book, Holden says, "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If... ... middle of paper ... while trying to reach that opportunity, that's life. They'll get up and try to catch another one. This is what Holden comes to realize. Holden does not follow the usual pattern of the typical coming of age novel. He begins in turmoil, struggles in turmoil, and has a moment of epiphany watching Phoebe at the carrousel. Holden does change toward the end of the book. His acceptance of Phoebe's need to "grab for the gold ring" indicates that he sees her as a maturing individual who must be allowed to live her own life and take her own chances, even though she may fail or fall. Children must do this, and adults must let them. For better or worse, Holden is beginning to grow up. Works Cited salinger ( J. D. O'Hara 14) ( Peter Shaw 84)
Open Document