English 10 Honors
31 March 2013
The Catcher in the Rye Essay
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a story about a teenager figuring out how to become an adult. Holden is almost to the age of being an adult, yet he is much like a child as he lacks the self-identification and maturity needed for him to survive in the adult world. In retaliation to reality, Holden conforms to society by attempting to portray an adult-like image of himself and he classifies all adults as fake, creating distance between their world and himself. Yet his incapability to function in the adult world leads him to appear less like an adult and more like a child.
Holden has an ...view middle of the document...
Lack of maturity keeps Holden from being able to have a proper conversation with Luce, and like Sally, Luce, too, gets fed up of Holden and leaves him alone. Another time, Holden’s inability to handle adult situations causes a problem for him is when he owes money to Sunny and gets into an argument with Maurice. Sunny and Maurice come to Holden’s room to get the money he owed them and “all of a sudden [Holden] started to cry” (Salinger 134). In this scene Holden finds himself in a situation where he is helpless and scared. Instead of acting like an adult, he chooses to antagonize the situation but then realizes too late that things are not going in his favor. Once he realizes that he cannot handle his current predicament, he panics and cries like a child.
Holden classifies every adult he sees as a phony and the only people he believes are not phonies, are children. His attitude towards adults makes it difficult to communicate with them. Mr. Spencer is the only teacher who is nice to Holden at Pencey Prep. Holden still finds a reason to classify him as a phony by the use of a single word: "Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phony." (Salinger 14). In Holden's mind, every adult fits his stereotype of phony, and he refuses to accept that he could be wrong. He is so set in his views on adults that instead of trying to accept Mr. Spencer, he finds a way to fit Mr. Spencer in to the stereotype he has of adults. Holden refuses to believe that adults are anything but phony, and it makes him not want to associate himself with them. One night while Holden is at dinner, he comes across more phony adults that he cannot deal with. Lillian, a woman who once dated Holden’s brother sees him and tries to make conversation. Holden classifies her as “strictly a phony” (Salinger 114). She invites Holden to join her and her friend, and even though Holden is all alone and wants company, he tells her he “was just leaving” and “[had] to meet somebody” (Salinger 114). Holden refuses to interact with people he thinks are phonies to the point where he makes up lies to get out of talking to them. This only leads him to becoming more lonely and frustrated than he was before. While Holden has great difficulty communicating with adults, he interacts easily with children. In search of Phoebe, Holden goes to the park and sees a young girl who he thinks, “might know Phoebe and could tell [him] where she was” (Salinger 154). He has a quite lengthy conversation; compared to the other talks he has had with adults, with the girl about Phoebe and how to find her. Where Holden has trouble interacting with adults, he easily holds a conversation with a child because he feels...