Holden as the Typical Teenager of Today
Holden Caulfield, portrayed in the J.D. Salinger novel Catcher in the Rye as an adolescent struggling to find his own identity, possesses many characteristics that easily link him to the typical teenager living today. The fact that the book was written many years ago clearly exemplifies the timeless nature of this work. Holden's actions are those that any teenager can clearly relate with. The desire for independence, the sexually related encounters, and the questioning of ones religion are issues that almost all teens have had or will have to deal with in their adolescent years. The novel and its main character's experiences can easily be ...view middle of the document...
He states on page fifty-one, "I didn't want to be around when they first got it. My mother gets very hysterical. She's not too bad after she gets something thoroughly digested, though." In taking the independent route, Holden does not look for sympathy or help from either of his parents. He feels that he can deal with his situation by waiting until the next school year in order to apply himself a little better.
Another characteristic of a teenager, usually of the male gender, would be the widespread subject of sex. As everyone knows, during and after puberty, males have a stronger desire to fantasize about and perform sexual acts. Holden is no different.
In my mind, I'm the biggest sex maniac you ever saw. Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn't mind doing if the opportunity came up. (Pg. 62)
Although Holden honestly states to the reader that he is a virgin, he still has encounters associated with sexual activity. First and foremost, Holden actually obtains a prostitute during a brief stay at a hotel room. Holden never has sexual intercourse with this woman, but it does show that he is a teenager looking for affection and pleasure. Also, he proclaimed that he had plenty of opportunities to "give the time" to other woman, but he never quite knew how to do it while on a date. Holden is much like the average teen in this regard. The media and other primary sources in teens lives have taken an interest in sex, and have made it seem like it is the greatest thing known to mankind. Most teenagers find it slightly embarrassing to admit to being chaste, mainly due to the fact that they think everyone is doing it; which is clearly false. Teenagers want to experience and experiment with sex, and even if they choose to not have sex until marriage, they will fantasize about it. This is yet another example of the similarities in which Holden and the typical teen share.