Becoming an Adult, the Main Theme of "The Catcher in the Rye"

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Becoming an Adult, the Main Theme of The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel written by Jerome David Salinger. The narrator and protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is 16-year-old boy who lives near New York. Holden goes to Pencey preparatory school in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. He only passed one subject, English, and has therefore flunked out of school. Holden leaves his school and tells us everything he observes as he wanders through New York with no particular objective. Caulfield goes to several bars and nightclubs, and his loneliness keeps making him call up people to meet while he waits for Wednesday, the day he will visit his family for Christmas. Everything is described very grimly, and he tells us that almost everyone he meets is a phony, an idiot or a moron. The way Holden constantly describes everything with extreme pessimism, and how he even considers suicide once, makes it seem like depression is the theme of the novel. However, the main subject of the book does not seem to be pure depression, but the fear and depressiveness of growing up, and Holden’s disgust of the adult world and its “phoniness”. The three main reasons for this is that he constantly refers to adults as phony, that he keeps trying to find someone to talk about growing up with, and that he loves things that never change. Firstly, Holden uses the word “phony” about the adult world throughout the entire novel. The word phony means that something is not real or authentic. Although it is never completely clear what Holden means when he calls adults phonies, one can get a pretty good understanding of his definition of phoniness on the bottom of page 148. He describes how “thousands” of actors are singing “Come All Ye Faithful” while carrying crucifixes on the stage. Holden knows it is supposed to be pretty, and “religious as hell,” but he cannot enjoy it because he knows
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