English II Honors
26 February 2009
A World of Poor Choices
The exciting novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger expresses the free will of choice. Salinger cleverly conveys how decisions can alter a person’s perspective of their peer. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, is a young teenager who has emotional instability and behavioral concerns. Holden acts immaturely extensively throughout the book. Holden invents a world where adulthood is the emblem of superficiality and “phoniness”, while he chooses to convey childhood as a world of innocence. Holden’s observation of himself being the catcher in the rye is highly symbolic. When Holden states he wants to walk off beyond the cliff and catch the children playing in the rye, it can be seen as him exceeding the line of puberty and becoming a young adult. There are a multitude of instances that portray Holden’s childhood as an unvarying plateau. Holden’s interrogation Carl Luce as if they were back in Whooton School, the symbolism of the ducks in the lagoon and the Museum of Natural History, and the contradicting message in the carousel scene, paradigms of his constant immaturity are shrewdly portrayed by Salinger. Holden conveys his immaturity primarily with his appointment with his old school companion, Carl Luce. Holden and Carl had gone to high school together and Holden remembers Carl as the guy who knew everything and anything there was to life. Holden insisted on asking Carl questions as if they relived high school. Carl becomes very disappointed in Holden on account of his lack of maturity. J.D. Salinger displays Holden’s immaturity when he portrays him asking Carl “How’s your sex life” (144). Carl’s response to Holden was “...just sit back and relax, for Chrissake” (Salinger 144). Holden’s persistence exacerbates his circumstances with Carl. Carl blatantly asks Holden “when are you ever going to grow up?” (Salinger 144). Holden didn’t have an acceptable answer for any...
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