Teenage Blues Essay

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In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, flunks out of prep school and decides to run away by himself. Alone, he has to survive in the real world while still grieving over the death of his younger brother, Allie. Along the way, Holden meets with two of his old teachers, both of whom tell him that he should have tried harder; he orders a prostitute to his hotel room; and he meets with his sister, Phoebe, about whom he really cares. Holden feels very isolated and dispirited, which only gets in the way of his maturation and ability to grow up. Salinger uses the ducks in Central Park and the catcher in the rye from the poem to symbolize Holden’s loneliness, depression, and uncertainty about his future. Using the ducks in Central Park as a symbol, Salinger depicts the grave feelings that Holden is truly experiencing. The mystery of where the ducks go during the winter months troubles Holden because he does not know what happens to them. Holden is unceasingly asking people if they know what happens to the ducks during the winter. The teenage boy asks a taxi driver if he knows about the ducks’ travel. “‘The ducks. Do you know, by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves – go south or something?’” (81-82). Not only does Holden want to know whether the ducks go somewhere else for the winter, but he wants to know how they get there. Holden is not necessarily worried about the ducks specifically, but the ducks represent him and Allie. Holden agonizes over Allie and what could have been of him. He wishes that Allie had gotten the chance to become an adult and become whoever he wants to become. Holden is living in the real world all by himself and has no idea in which direction his life is going. He asks whether the ducks leave the lagoon on their

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