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The Catcher in the Rye: Growing up with Holden

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The Catcher in the Rye,​ by J.D. Salinger, explores the topic of adolescence through Holden Caulfield , a troubled teenager. Salinger throws adolescent­based problems, such as loss of innocence, rejection and disgust at the adult world, and alienation from society, at Holden. This is representative of struggles and obstacles being important during times of adolescence in order for one to mature. Holden’s actions and progression depict this theme as Holden is seen as someone who is struggling to mentally develop into a young adult despite his coming of age. Holden experiences as well as witnesses loss of innocence and its effect on him is considerable and allows for growth due to his protection of innocence.

Holden experiences a self­loss of his own childhood innocence as well as a sense of maturity when he goes to visit a museum from his past. He states that the best thing about the museum, “was that everything always stayed where it was,” and that, “the only thing different would be you,” (121). However, during this visit Holden doesn’t find the museum appealing and would only go in, “if Phoebe’d been there,” so he’d rather, “made that damn date with Sally,” (122). The museum stands for what Holden wishes for most: a simple, unchanging world of his childhood.

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