Growing Up

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"The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger shows its readers life through Holden Caulfield's eyes. The readers see his outlook on life, thoughts about people, and ideas about maturity and adulthood. Even though Holden doesn't want to grow up, he still develops maturity through three symbols: the museum, the idea of being "the catcher in the rye," and the carrousel and gold rings.

The museum holds many fond memories for Holden that he does not want to let go of. He loves this museum because he feels that it never changes. Holden says that every time he goes into the museum, the Eskimo is in the same place and the women are still weaving baskets; it is always the same. Holden doesn't want to go into the museum because he would feel different. Holden is older now and has changed and grown up to an extent. He is different and now feels like he can't go in because he would be the only different thing in there. Holden's character won't allow him to enter the museum because it made him happy when he thought about it. And if Holden did enter the museum, then he would not feel the same about it.

The idea of being the "catcher in the rye," develops in Holden's head when he hears the little boy on the street singing: "if a body catch a body in the rye." This brings joy to Holden and takes him out of his depressed mood. This made Holden happy because when the boy was singing, he was carefree and didn't have any problems or responsibilities. Being a "catcher in the rye," means that someone would catch little children if they fell off of a cliff. A "catcher in the rye" is like a savior of youth and the protector of childhood. Holden wants to save the little children from become corrupt, horrible, and phony adults. When Holden saw "F you's" on the walls, he tried to rub them off but couldn't. He wanted to protect the kids from seeing it and asking someone older about it. He wanted to prevent them from even thinking about it. But then, Holden realizes that he can't rub it...
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