Compare and Contrast: the Catcher in the Rye

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Today’s typical teenagers are notorious for their impatience with growing up and entering the real world, their obsessive interest with their social status and finally, their infamous personality of constantly giving adults and other forms of authority the cold shoulder. In The Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden Caulfield has some of these teenage qualities highlighted to an exaggerated point, while possessing many atypical teenager traits at the same time. For instance, Holden doesn’t want to face the world. While most teenagers can’t wait to move out, find a job, and embrace the world, Holden on the other hand shies away from everything and hides behind his barrier of cynicism. He also has difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality, expressing his frustration towards the topic when he says, “Sex is something I just don’t understand. I swear to God I don’t.” (pg. 63) This fact is further enforced when Luce says to Holden, “Naturally, Your mind is immature.” (pg. 147) Holden even admits he acts like a 12-year-old sometimes yet he doesn’t seem to feel any embarrassment or shame about it. In addition, while the typical teenager would enjoy having a network of friends and contacts, Holden on the other hand sees a world full of corrupt and phony people and prefers to be left alone. After meeting Lillian at Ernie’s he says, “People are always ruining things for you.” (pg. 57) Surprisingly, Holden not only holds distain towards others in society, but towards his own position in society as well. It is a well-known fact that Holden comes from a rich and affluent family. He has an extremely comfortable life, yet towards the end of the story he constantly mentions how he would just like to stow away in a cabin in the woods because life is just so miserable. Most teenagers would be pining for the chance to have as much material wealth as Holden does, yet what would make a regular teen happy, further depresses Holden. It appears he even dislikes...
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