Catcher in the Rye

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Throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield uses cynicism to hide himself from the real world because he fears growing up. The most apparent example of Holden's fear of the adult world and of maturity is his misconception of some lyrics about catching children in a rye field, which is where the title of the book gets its name. Holden spends nearly the entire novel denying the existence of his fear of maturity. These are a few instances when Holden admits his fear and confusion of maturity and adulthood, and these are when he admits that sex is something he does not understand. Holden makes excuses for hiding in childhood, attempting to stay free from the world of maturity by labeling adults and growing up as "phony". He also attributes innocence and honesty to childhood and thinks that all children are good. The main character that Holden portrays as innocent is his little sister Phoebe, who Holden views as an honest and innocent little girl who can do no harm.

Holden's blatant criticism and misconception of adults is shown when he visits Mr. Antolini. Holden wakes up after spending the evening talking and watching Mr. Antolini drink only to find Mr. Antolini patting his head and stroking it. Holden misconstrues Mr. Antolini's actions as homosexual and perverse when in reality this is not the case and Mr. Antolini is merely showing his affection and concern for Holden. There was no homosexual action taking place aside from inside Holden's mind. This shows Holden's misconception of the adult world around him and, this makes clear how Holden's false thought on adulthood effects his day to day life. "No, no kidding. I gotta get going. I really do."(192) this is how Holden responds to Mr. Antolini's actions, erratically when he storms quickly out of his house, making it clear that Holden is shocked in an extremely disturbing way.

Holden also makes adulthood and adults out to be phony in order to convince himself that it is acceptable for him to...
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