Good Essays
J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, stresses the importance of a father figure that can diminish fears of growing up and aid in the journey into adulthood. Protagonist Holden Caulfield fears entering into adulthood due to its phoniness and impurities, so he examines potential father figures he thinks can help to ease his anxieties and to assist him in his passage into the adult world. Carl Luce has the knowledge on matters of sexuality that Holden needs, but he refuses to aid him, so he rejects him as a father figure. Furthermore, Holden pursues Mr. Antolini for shelter and his wise advice; however, Mr. Antolini’s alcohol abuse causes him to act inappropriately with Holden and scares him out of his home. Luce and Mr. Antolini juxtapose each other and share some characteristics, but Holden rejects both out of the desire for a perfect father figure. Holden quests to find a father figure in Luce and Mr. Antolini because they exhibit the desirable characteristics of knowledge and care that can aid Holden in his development; however, as Luce demonstrates a lack of concern and effort and Mr. Antolini’s alcoholism leads to perverty actions, they both fail to help him accept adulthood resulting in their rejection, which also signifies Holden’s lasting immaturity and inability to accept a father figure less than flawless.
Carl Luce’s knowledge and experience in the adult world portrays him as a potential father figure for Holden as he can help him to accept adulthood by explaining the new adult concepts New York exposes him to; however, Luce refuses Holden’s plea for advice, so he cannot meet his needs as a father figure. Holden’s request of Luce’s guidance illustrates his respect for him and trust in his information. Luce, “one ...

... middle of paper ... accepting anyone as a father figure.
Holden ultimately fails in finding a father figure that can help him to accept adulthood by diminishing his worries of it as Carl Luce and Mr. Antolini both exhibit characteristics that prevent him from accepting them. Luce has the potential to help Holden because of his knowledge on the adult matters that Holden strives to understand, but he rejects Holden’s request for advice as a result of the personal questions he asks. Moreover, Mr. Antolini’s care and concern for Holden greatly aids him, but he frightens him when intoxicated with “perverty” acts, so Holden can no longer trust him as he indicates that he cannot stand that kind of behavior. Luce and Mr. Antolini juxtapose each other and share characteristics both illustrating that Holden’s need for perfection in a father figure ultimately prevents him from finding one.
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