Examples Of Falling Into Adulthood In Catcher In The Rye

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Falling into Adulthood In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old boy, struggles to mature and conform to the expectations of society as he enters adulthood while he tries to cope with the death of his little brother, Allie. Holden doesn’t like what he sees as he starts to meet new people and venture into the world. His travels in New York City cause him to lose his childhood innocence from encounters with people who are phonies that only care about money and sex. These losses of innocence are shown by a recurring motif in the story, falling. On several occasions throughout the story, Holden’s falling symbolizes his loss of innocence at his school Pencey Prep, where he falls before a meeting with…show more content…
His first notable fall is when he hires a prostitute named Sunny because he feels depressed and thinks maybe having sexual intercourse with a prostitute will lift his spirits after being rejected by a group of girls and also make him more of an adult. In this case, Holden isn’t much better than his roommate, Stradlater, when he went on a date with Jane. When Holden is waiting for Sunny to show up, he says, “Finally, somebody knocked on the door, and when I went to open it, I had my suitcase right in the way and I fell over it and damn near broke my knee” (93). Holden is about to have sex for the first time and lose his virginity, and the fall indicates the loss of innocence that is about to occur in his life. Holden ends up being too afraid to do anything because Holden says, “she was young as hell” (94). Sunny was too cold and business-like, which turns Holden off. Even though the two do not engage in any sexual activity, Holden comes into contact with a prostitute, bringing him one step closer to adulthood and one step farther from the innocence of being a child. Another fall Holden experiences is after he spends time with Sunny. Maurice, Sunny’s “pimp”, comes into Holden’s room and demands payment from him. Holden tells him that he already paid the five dollars and refuses to pay five more, and in Holden’s words, “he smacked me. I didn’t even try to get out of the way or duck or anything. All I felt was this terrific punch in my stomach” (103). Holden falls after being punched by Maurice and he says, “I remember looking up from the floor and seeing them both go out the door and shut it” (103). Very similar to the situation with Spencer, Holden reaches the realization of just how harsh people are, and that everyone is selfish and only interested in themselves and money. Holden is starting to find difficulty with growing up between coping with adversity

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