Adulthood in Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn

Topics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Joan Caulfield, Holden Caulfield Pages: 3 (1083 words) Published: November 1, 2005
The theme of adulthood soaks the texts of both The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, two of the most acclaimed American novels in history. In The Catcher in The Rye, Holden Caulfield is leading a melodramatic struggle into adulthood. The fact that Holden is resistant to growing up is evident throughout the text. Huck, on the other hand, is a child. He is open minded, innocent, and carefree. Though his situation is a much more strenuous one than seen in most adult's lives, he seems to handle his circumstances with ease.

Salinger creates an extremely dismal view of the adult life. This is the reason that Holden is constantly jumping over the line form adulthood, and back into childhood. Holden believes very deeply that adults are hypocritical, shallow, ostentatious, and idiotic. He describes all of these feelings into one word that he uses continually. Holden sees the adult world as just a bunch of phonies. He also determines that the adults are so phony, that they can not even see their own phoniness. Holden is constantly searching for a pure untainted adult, and all he can find of that description are children; children like his forever young dead brother Allie, his younger sister Phoebe, and Jane Gallagher who he remembers as "keeping all her kings in the back row". He expresses his hatred for the phony world in describing his disgust in the phrase "glad to have met you" and how it had become almost automatic for people to say it, whether they meant it or not creating the phoniness aspect of adulthood that Holden so often alludes to.

He is trying to survive the transition into the adult world, one that should have happened in his prep schools. The fact that he fails out of all three of them is just more evidence that he is not ready to be an adult. He is too young to be taken seriously by adults, but too sensitive to be understood by his peers. Holden is trying to make the merge onto the highway of adulthood, and inevitably,...
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