Holden Caulfield Adulthood

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In J.D. Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, after journeying through New York, develops not only a better perception of childhood and adulthood, but also a new understanding of his place as a young adult. From the beginning of the book, Holden’s perception of youth and maturity are respectively ignorant and naive. Holden considers youth safe, and precious, while fearing all the evils that come with adulthood. He struggles to leave behind his childhood innocence, yet at the same time he fears the responsibility and reality of adulthood. Over the course of the book, Holden matures, gaining a more sophisticated understanding of innocence and maturity, and he comes to accept his identity as a young man. For Holden, childhood initially…show more content…
For Holden, teachers and adults always have an agenda underneath their kindness and concerns. Holden claims that at Elkton Hills “phonies” surrounded him and that there was “this headmaster, Mr. Haas, that was the phoniest bastard [he] ever met in his life,” even though Mr. Haas was merely doing his job (17). Holden considers adulthood not only a facade full of meaningless formalities but also a foreign, abstact concept. Holden claims that he and Mr. Spencer are “too much on opposite sides of the pole” for them to relate to each other (18). Holden’s progress begins to be seen when he is later talking with two nuns. Holden admits that he “enjoyed talking to them a lot” and he even “started getting sorry that [he]’d only given them ten bucks for their collection” (125)(126). From this encounter, Holden considers the nuns honest in their actions, and even sympathizes with their charity (????????????). Even later, Holden respects Mr. Antolini as an adult because “he didn’t even give a damn if his coat got all dirty” when approaching Jame Castle’s dead body (193). Holden’s experiences with the nuns and Mr. Antolini, whom he never once calls “phony”, allow him to better comprehend the genuine concern and dedication of adult. The advancement of Holden’s view of adulthood shines when he even calls Mr. Antolini a “pretty smart guy,” showing his new appreciation for adults

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