A Catcher in the Rye

1426 Words6 Pages
Literary Essay: A Catcher in the Rye Adolescence is a time of significant change, both emotional and physical. The main character in J.D. Salinger’s novel, A Catcher in the Rye, is Holden Caulfield. Holden is not a typical adolescent character experiencing the change and challenges of managing his transition from adolescence to adulthood. Holden’s self inflicted isolation contributes to his fear of growing up and his negative attitude toward others and the world around him. The novel opens with the discovery that Holden has been expelled from his current boarding school for unacceptable grades and effort. This is not the first time Holden had been expelled from a school. Holden is fearful of arriving home earlier than expected and copping with his parent’s disappointment. He decides to stay at a hotel in New York City, close to his home, rather than return early from school to face his parents. During Holden’s three-days in New York City he encounters many people, some new and some old acquaintances. Holden has strong feelings and beliefs about the world of childhood and the world of adulthood. Holden holds to the ideal of childhood and innocence. He also frequently calls the world of adults “phony”. Holden does not want to face the changes and challenges of adulthood. Holden expresses this desire not to change when he comments on the Museum of Natural History exhibits “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed the same right where it was. Nobody moved…Nobody’d be different”. Chen believes that the museum has symbolic meaning for Holden, she contends, “the museum represents the world Holden wishes he could live in” (144). Holden’s desire for a world of innocence is also captured when he tells his sister about what he really wants to be, “A catcher in the rye”, someone who protects the innocent so that they

More about A Catcher in the Rye

Open Document