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Research Paper On Catcher In The Rye

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Holden Caulfield: Dealing With Maturity

In J.D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden Caulfield is a 17 year old bad boy who goes from school to school and gets kicked out of every single one of them. Despite coming from a wealthy family, he has more problems than a kid coming from a dysfunctional family, where the dad is a dead beat drunk and the mom is a drug addict. Holden likes to do what all the adults can do and, because he's taller than 6 feet, he gets away with most of it. From his point of view, maturity had to do with drinking and losing his virginity. He believes that losing his virginity means he will become a man and experience something some people have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing. Holden understands, though, that if he does have sex, he will lose the innocence of a child. He struggles with the idea of taking on the responsibilities of a man, something he is not yet ready for.

Maturity is growing up, getting older and making more responsible choices. When someone is mature they look at life from a different perspective than what an immature person would. Maturity deals with having to make the right choices, not the wrong ones. When someone is mature they will be responsible and know right from wrong. Maturing is all about growing up, some mature faster than others, but not everyone is mature. In Catcher in the Rye, there were many people that posed as mature people but were really not. Holden claims those people to be phonies and that they like to put on a show for people. That is why Holden was in no hurry to mature anytime soon yet he acted to be much older than he really was.

Holden is an idealist, and has an obsessive compulsion with people that act phony. Holden notices all the little things, like Sonny's green dress, or the nun's cheap eyeglasses. He is depressed by all the things around him except for his sister Phoebe, who shows the only bit of sanity in his life. She represents the innocence of a child and Holden can relax around her. Even his brother D.B, in Holden's opinion, is a phony sell out. Holden had to deal with the death of his little brother Allie, who in his mind was not a phony and represented something pure and cheerful. Holden can't find a friendship due to his psychological problems. He shows self- destructive behavior and his negative attitude, and is always criticizing people. Holden describes himself as a failure in life, which is hard on him because he realizes he can't do anything right. He cannot hold a relationship with a girl and he doesn't have any friends.

Holden goes to the hotel where he is staying at and talks to Maurice; the elevator guy, and asks him to send up a prostitute. He intends to lose his virginity to help him mature, not knowing the mess he will get in. He cannot go through with it, knowing he will lose his purity and innocence. Holden has been told by his teachers and parents that his recklessness and expulsions are what make him a failure. Yet he has potential to do what ever he wants, he sulks in his own depression, which limit his abilities.

In Catcher in the Rye, power is expressed by money, and where wealth is, corruption is. Money corrupts many people and makes them change, whether it's greed or selfishness. It can also bring out the immature side of people. Holden expresses his opinion about lawyers like his father:

Lawyers are all right, I guess- but it doesn't appeal to me, I said.

I mean they're all right if they go around saving innocent guys'

lives all the time, and like that, but you don't play bridge and

buy cars and drink martinis and look like a hot-shot. How would

you know you weren't being phony? The trouble is, you wouldn't

(Salinger, 172).

Despite Holden's view on phonies he still has a certain amount of respect for his father. He is always looking at the bad things in life instead of the good. Not taking life for granted he goes to a club hoping to find some peace of mind. Holden is hoping to find his brothers' friends to socialize and have a couple of drinks with them. Maturity somewhat deals

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