• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Catcher In The Rye

Extracts from this document...


Many occurrences, either positive or haunting, in one's life force them to mature, but often these experiences produce fear in that adolescent, keeping them from taking the next step into life. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye details the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, and his confrontations with death, sex, innocence, adults, and the "phoniness" of the world. These experiences mold The Catcher in the Rye into a coming-of-age novel, in which Holden's conflicts with these difficult situations and issues support the concept that Holden matured from an adolescent into an adult. Although the step into adulthood was not simple, but rather a difficult task, Holden's first wary steps into adulthood provide the framework of this prodigious novel. His maturation occurred during his time at various schools, his weekend in New York, and at home. Death presents itself as a prominent theme in the novel, and it helped Holden develop into a mature young adult. The passing of his brother, Allie, struck Holden hard, and he continuously reminisced on his memories of Allie. Holden also spoke to Allie often when he felt emotionally and physically distressed, such as when he decided to move to the sunny west as means to escape life (Unrue 109). Seeing as Allie escaped from the burdens of life, Holden found comfort in him. From Holden's point of view, Allie was immune to the "phoniness," corruptness and lying of society because he died; he escaped from a world in which a child must inevitably sacrifice their innocence (Mitchell 5 of 9). ...read more.


Holden regarded protecting and preserving innocence as his lifetime occupation. The title of the book portrays this, as Holden self-proclaimed himself the "Catcher in the Rye," as he hoped to protect children from falling into the cruelty of society. ". . . I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-they and I mean if they're running don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be" (Salinger 173). Holden's wish to protect these children exemplified his fear to grow up, known as the peter-pan complex. This complex also includes a longing to live in their head opposed to the real world, a need to grow up, and a life that lacks a set course (Flynn). Holden's preservation of innocence reflected his own; he hoped to stay a child for as long as possible, and disregard responsibilities. The only problem for Holden's preservation of his childhood was that he neared treacherously to the edge of the cliff, but unlike the children, he did not have a catcher to save him. In addition, Allie's death took Holden's childhood from him, as his travesty forced him to grow up at a very young age. ...read more.


Unknowingly, Holden had the beginnings of a man whom he, by no means, wanted to become. His statements, which lacked consistency, and often truth, characterized the largest portion of Holden's immature side. Additionally, Holden criticized the actors of popular films, the girls whom he dated, and the residents of the hotel, yet he associated himself with all. He went to the films with Sally Hayes, even though he despised the "phony" actors. Moreover, he took Sally Hayes on a date, a girl whom he thought fake from the moment she answered the telephone when he called her. Lastly, he insisted on jitterbugging with the women from the hotel, despite the fact that they only cared about meeting the famous star, Peter Lorre. Holden's incessant self-contradictory statements prove his juvenile behavior and incapability to make a decision regarding his point of view. Additionally, Holden tried to control everybody, and the morals by which they live their lives, which again proves his immature behavior. Holden's confrontations with these people, issues, and conflicts are the reason many consider J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye a coming of age novel. All of these experiences restricted Holden from maturing into an adult. By facing many difficult situations, including death, sex, a loss of innocence, adults, and "phonies," Holden eventually comprehended that one could not change the world, only his life, and the way he lived it. He also learned that it is important for one to become an adult, as proved in the story; he realized the effects on others he had when he acted matured, instead of like a child. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level J.D. Salinger section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why is symbolism in the Catcher in the Rye so important?

    4 star(s)

    We see this through his fascination with Robert Burns' poem. He wants to be 'the catcher in the rye'(173), he wants to catch the children and stop them from falling off 'the cliff' of childhood innocence into the misery of adulthood.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the view that in "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and "Catcher in ...

    4 star(s)

    not feel that when he is telling the story it is though the eyes of someone who we cannot trust and whose judgement may be impaired. Likewise with Ruby, who as an omniscient character seems most reliable until we are informed of Ruby's repression of the death of her twin

  1. Holden’s quest in “the catcher in the rye” is a search for his identity.

    He puts this question to a taxi driver and gets a thoroughly indifferent response. This brief moment in the book adds something previously only seen once to Holden's character a kindness and affection only seen when he had spoken of Allie.

  2. Why does Holden fear adulthood?

    Salinger relates the misunderstanding of the poem to the main character in the novel who's life and personality is based on misunderstandings. Holden's innocence or better his respect towards innocence is reflected in his imagination and thought of kids running through the rye, and himself as an older figure avoiding their loss of innocence itself.

  1. a letter to holden caulfield

    You could one day be living in a dorm that is named after someone that you think is a phony, Ossenburger for example. Even your own parents aren't exceptions. You could even meet a phony while you are out on a date.

  2. Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"

    her son by making her believe that her son is one of the most honorable and decent students at Pencey. Although Holden talks about people being "phony", he is none other than a phony himself. He says, "Then I started reading this timetable I had in my pocket.

  1. Catcher in the Rye: Close Reading

    Salinger's use of diction in the scene is brilliant; the scene seems so real in the sense that it seems that Holden is sitting next to you telling you the story face to face. Salinger wisely chooses to keep his narrative and prose straightforward and simple.

  2. Theme in The Catcher in the Rye.

    The reminiscent, nostalgic mood throughout the book is most clearly seen in passages such as this one, where concrete nouns dominate. Through these strong images, Salinger shows that Holden is capable of being both sensitive and perceptive when reflecting on his early childhood. Good Quotes "Life is a game, boy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work