In the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D Salinger, the main character, Holden, is a teenager who refuses to grow up because he is naively fixated on childhood. Throughout the novel, Holden struggles through teenage life because he cannot accept the given responsibilities that come with growing up. Holden is obsessed with childhood because he chooses to be wedged between a world of the innocence of children and the complex world of adulthood. Holden deities his two younger siblings as if they're candidates for sainthood because of his fixation.
Holden is a teenager who refuses to grow up because he is afraid of gaining the responsibilities that come with it. So, Holden struggles hard to ...view middle of the document...
60) Therefore, Holden will try to get some random stranger for a beer, as they won't criticize him.
Among other responsibilities, Holden tries to set rules up for himself like an adult, but ends up breaking them right away: "Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it though, the same week I made it- the same night, as a matter of fact." (pg. 63) Holden cannot maintain his rules, and ends up acting like a child, who needs someone else to set the rules up for him.
However, Holden does show some transition toward adulthood. For example, he has a sexual temptation toward things he also considers perverted. When he stays at Edmont, he admits: "It's really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes." (pg. 12) In some aspects, he does show that he is growing up into an adult, even if he doesn't want to. Holden's strong focus of the ducks in the lagoon is also symbolic to his life. He is constantly concerned about where the ducks will go when the lake freezes: "I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away." (pg. 13) Just like the ducks, Holden is wondering where he's going to go in life. He wonders if someone will guide him to the right direction, or if he'll guide himself through it by instinct. In addition, the lake itself is also somewhat symbolic to Holden's life. When Holden visits Central Park to see if there were any ducks still around, he mentions: "Then, I finally found it. What it was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen." The lake is transitioning into two different states, frozen and not frozen, while Holden is transitioning between childhood and adulthood. Since Holden chooses to be frozen between the transitions, Holden hates change. When Holden goes to visit the Museum of Natural History, he states that he likes the museum because it will always be the same each time he visits:
"The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deer would still be drinking out of that water hole, with their pretty antlers and their pretty, skinny legs, and that squaw with the naked bosom would still be weaving that same blanket." (pg. 121)
Therefore, Holden would love to live in a world where everything stays frozen, where nothing changes. This way, Holden can never grow up to be an adult.
Holden is a growing teenager who chooses to be frozen between a world of the innocence of children and complex world of adulthood. He is wedged between these two worlds because he possesses a fixation with childhood. Throughout the novel, Holden sounds like he is some grumpy old man...