The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: A Coming of Age Story

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 40
  • Published : May 20, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is a coming of age story. It is a story narrated by the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who is a sixteen year old boy, but has a mind of a ten year old innocent kid. This book is clearly written to show the theme of coming of age because it shows many symbols of coming of age, it shows the changes of young adults in modern life, and it creates an image of Holden growing up. As a result of Allie’s death, Holden feels isolated from the world1, so he judges others2, defies its institutions3, and rebels against conformity4, but after his harrowing three day journey he learns from his suffering5 and begins to mature and grow6.

Isolation in The Catcher in the Rye refers to the personal, social, and mental isolation of one individual, seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield, from the rest of the world. The novel explores the tension between the desire to observe, judge, and alienate with the need to meet, converse, and connect. We constantly see the desire to reach out mitigated by hesitation and passivity. There are many symbols that represent coming of age in this book. The author hides the ambiguities of growing up in the nature and the society of New York City. Even though, The characteristics of Holden are described as “six foot two and a half” and “[has] gray hair” he has a mind of a child (Salinger 13). But later in the book, J.D Salinger emphasizes Holden slowly growing up to be an adult. For example, when Holden gets soaking wet by rain when he is watching his little sister ride the carousel, he “felt so damn happy all of a sudden” (Salinger 275). This symbolizes Holden getting baptized into adulthood because he realizes the happiness in life. He realizes that he is too big to ride the carousel, and is happy to just look at his sister being happy. One by one, the raindrops have cleared Holden’s childish personality when it falls on him. Another symbol of coming of age in the book is the vandalized walls with...
tracking img