From Innocence to Adulthood in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

From Innocence to Adulthood in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

Length: 2365 words (6.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

From Innocence to Adulthood in The Catcher in the Rye


   Adolescence is a time of existence in two worlds. One world having

the desire to be in the adult world, which is filled with all the unknown

wonders of the world. The other world is the world of childhood which is

comfortable and protected from all the impurities in the world.  This sort

of tug of war between the two worlds is not only mentally imposed on a

being, but physically, socially, and morally as well.  With all the

mentioned above, often times an adult will discourage an action of an

adolescent by saying they are too old to a act a certain way, and then will

turn around and say they are too young to do something, like go out late or

go on dates.  These contradictions can lead an adolescent to complete

uncertainty of their actions.  J.B. Salingers book, The Catcher in the Rye,

aptly describes the immense confusion of the in between stages of being a

boy and a man.


      Throughout the whole story, the narrator, Holden tries to act both

the boy and thw man but cannot.  He tries in vain to get a grip on the

adult world, but never is quite successful.  Holden's first attempt at

adulthood is exemplified when he leaves his school without permission from

his parents or the school.  This act in itself sets the stage for his trial

and error attitude about adulthood in the sense he failed out of school,

which was a childish act.  He tries to rectify his failing out of school by

leaving, which he views as an adult act. Holden's leaving school

represents his need for independence and he achieves this by leaving.


      Another of Holden's failed attempts at ...

... middle of paper ...

... In The Rye". English Journal. 77.7 (1988): 72-75.

Kaplan, Robert B. Cliff's Notes: Catcher In The Rye. Lincoln: Cliff's Notes, Inc., 1999.

Marsden, Malcolm M. If You Really Want To Know: A Catcher Casebook. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1963.

Miller Jr., James E. "American Literature". World Book Encyclopedia. Volume 1. Chicago: World Book Inc., 1983.

Pinsker, Sanford. The Catcher In The Rye: Innocence Under Pressure. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

Roemer, Danielle M. "The Personal Narrative and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye". Western Folklore 51 (1992): 5-10.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.

Wildermuth, April. "Nonconformism in the Works of J.D. Salinger." 1997 Brighton High School. 24 November 1999.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Preservation of Innocence In The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)

Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger Essay

- One of the purist times in a person’s life is childhood, during this time life is easy and often romanticized. As a person grows older the innocence and naivety of childhood begins to fade into a hardness caused by the harsh realties of adulthood. Though the transition from childhood is hard, one most remember not to rush into adulthood savor your innocence . In Catcher In the Rye , by J.D. Salinger the main character Holden Caulfield is in the transitional stage, he finds it hard for him to grow-up and act like an adult....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
901 words (2.6 pages)

Holden's Attitudes Toward Childhood and Adulthood in Salinger's, The Catcher in the Rye

- Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. In the book Holden hears a quote “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he want to live humbly for one” (Salinger 188) which he embraces as he matures throughout the story. Holden’s opinions of childhood and adulthood change as he grows through experience. Throughout the story Holden emphasizes his love for childhood innocence. In a passage he says “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.” (Salinger 211) This immediately points to his affinity for innocence and not havi...   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
608 words (1.7 pages)

The Death of Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

-    Holden identifies with, yearns for, and despises traits of the adult and child realms. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, fears becoming an adult who exhibits the characteristics that he holds complaints against. Throughout this Bildungsroman narrative, Holden searches for his identity. He tries to figure out his place either in the adult or child realm. Holden possesses a combination of fear and hatred for "phonies". Holden uses this term to describe a wide range of people including shallow, superficial, fake, untruthful, or hypocritical individuals....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

Corruption Exposed in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- The theme of The Catcher in the Rye is simple. J. D. Salinger uses this novel to draw a clear distinction between the purity of childhood and the wickedness attained when one reaches adulthood. Salinger uses multiple literary devices including diction, symbolism, tone, and even the title of the novel to drive home his ideas about the innocence of children and the corruption of the world. The form of diction used in The Catcher in the Rye is a topic on which many people are strongly opinionated. Because the narrator speaks solely in the vernacular, the novel is ripe with vulgar language....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
869 words (2.5 pages)

The Color Red in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- As once said by Socrates, a famous Greek philosopher, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He believes people should read between the lines, and in the case of books, delve into what the author is trying to say by using symbols and imagery. To someone who does not examine the book, The Catcher in the Rye, it may seem to be about a “messed up” teenager who wanders around town and doesn’t care about life. But when a range of ______ are explored, one will find that this book has common themes of innocence, changing, growing up and also death....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
501 words (1.4 pages)

A Rebel on His Way to Adulthood in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Ever since I read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – I was 17 then – I have tried to explain myself why this book is so significant. Why is it so hated and adored at the same time. I must confess I hadn’t heard anything about Salinger till I watched ‘Conspiracy Theory’. If you don’t remember I’ll tell you that the movie was about this taxi driver Jerry Fletcher who traced conspiracy in everything and all of sudden one of his theories came to be true. Mel Gibson was incredible playing a man who was funny and serious, brilliant and a bid mad....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Free Essays
2170 words (6.2 pages)

Holden's Escape of Corruption Through Childhood and Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye

- Holden's Escape of Corruption Through Childhood and Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye Works Cited Missing Holden Caulfield was in conflict with the society he was living in. He regarded it as corrupted and totally insincere; and therefore he attempted to escape from falling into this corruption of adulthood, by holding onto his childhood innocence....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye]

Powerful Essays
1702 words (4.9 pages)

The Theme of Hypocrisy in The Catcher In The Rye Essay

- The Theme of Hypocrisy in The Catcher In The Rye In the novel The Catcher In The Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield views his surroundings with hypocrisy and contempt in an attempt to avoid the corruption of adulthood. Holden places himself above the crowd because he believes everyone acts phony. In the process, Caulfield reveals his true problem: his refusal to change. Holden fears adulthood because it brings responsibilities and trouble. He believes all adults possess an aurora of "phoniness." His disgust of everyone around him reveals his fear of growing up....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Powerful Essays
499 words (1.4 pages)

Essay about The Adolescent Crisis of The Catcher in the Rye

- The Adolescent Crisis of The Catcher in the Rye Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is valid, realistic, representation of the adolescent world. The book is about adolescent crisis. The main character, Holden, runs away from his expensive school because he is an academic failure and finds intolerable the company of so many phoneys. Holden is a rangy sixteen year old who has grown too fast. Girls are on his mind. Whenever girls do something pretty, even if they're ugly or stupid, you fall half in love with them....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays Salinger]

Powerful Essays
2740 words (7.8 pages)