Character Development Essay

Submitted By jess1218
Words: 1527
Pages: 7

Coming of Age Coming of age is a theme that occurs throughout many books. Every character in any book changes over time. It isn’t always a dramatic change, but the character often isn’t the same person that they started as. Childhood is filled with innocence and fun. There also are hardly any responsibilities for a child, which allows children to not be stressed and worried constantly. Once you hit adulthood though, things can change a lot. One starts to take on a lot more responsibility and that can be overwhelming for some. Books are a good way of showing how everyone is different, and everyone has their own way of growing up at different ages. The novels The Catcher in the Rye, Jacob Have I Loved, True Grit, and The Chocolate War are all coming of age novels, and each of the characters in these novels have their own way of coming of age. To start, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger features a character named Holden Caulfield who matures quite a bit throughout the story. Holden is a very troubled teenager who has a hard time with the idea of growing up. He often feels adults are corrupt, and tries to help children so that they don’t need to enter adulthood and loose their innocence. He is seen as quite immature in the beginning since he can’t seem to stay at one school for very long. He fails and skips classes and acts as if it is no big deal. Even being expelled doesn’t seem to phase him one bit. Pencey Prep was the last school he left. While he was there though, he became the equipment manager for the fencing team, but lost all the equipment so they weren’t able to compete. That act just shows how irresponsible he really is. After being expelled from Pencey, he wanders and calls anyone he can think of besides his own parents. Holden is constantly calling people phonies, and he doesn’t want to become a phony which he thinks will happen if he continues attending a corrupt school. Plus Holden thinks children are perfect and completely innocent, so if anything goes wrong he will make up an excuse for them. The title of the book comes from something Holden imagines which is that he is the catcher who will save children from falling off the cliff into adulthood. Eventually though, Holden’s views toward growing up start to change. He was going to visit a museum he often visited as a child, but at the last minute he decided he was too old for it. He starts to grow up one step at a time. Holden then decides to not ride the carrousel with his little sister Phoebe, but instead just watches her. Holden realizes Phoebe must make mistakes and learn things on her own, and that he can’t always protect her. Holden finally realizes that he must grow up and mature to continue on in life. Secondly, Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson involves a character many children can relate to. Many of those with siblings know what it is like to be the favorite child or not the favored child. In this story, Caroline is favorited while Louise is stuck on the sidelines. Louise is very immature and struggles with self purpose. No one is really fully grown up until they have accepted themselves for who they are and made the best of it. Louise may not be favorited, but it seems a lot worse than it actually is since that is her mind set. No matter what happens Louise will seem left out since she can’t imagine anything else. Louise worked hard while her sister was sent off to music lessons. Louise views that as Caroline being favorited, but really their parent’s just thought Louise was happy with how things were. Louise doesn’t believe in herself, and believes no one is on her side. Even her best friend liked her sister more and even ended up marrying her. Louise felt down and alone, but eventually started to mature and realized she didn’t need to be stuck on the island forever. Her parents sent her to midwifery school, and she continued on to medical school from there. Things were looking up, and Louise started to accept herself more and