Holden's Immaturity In Catcher In The Rye

Words: 2354
Pages: 10

A plethora of thoughts and emotions accompanies the time of adolescence. For many, the lines between right and wrong become blurred as they struggle to discover who they are as an individual, and how they function within society. Holden Caulfield is a young adolescent who deals with these very problems after he falls out of his school, Pencey Prep. Throughout the novel, Holden struggles to come to terms with himself and his environment, as he stumbles through New York hoping to find the very affection and attention he is avoiding. These conflicting emotions coupled with his immaturity and naiveté, leave him in a horrible mental state, and in a situation where his cynicism gets the best of him. The more he tries to fit in the with the world, …show more content…
Holden’s first realization of his surroundings is when he accepts that he cannot protect children from the clutches of adulthood. Throughout the novel, Holden is constantly trying to prevent Phoebe and other children from experiencing the norms of adulthood, as he believes that the world becomes cold and cruel as an adult. When asked what he wants to be, Holden can only think of being a catcher, shown when he states “‘I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be’” (173). This unreal ambition of wanting to protect children from what is ultimately inevitable, stems from his immaturity and lack of knowledge of the world. His skewed perception and bias of adulthood makes him believe that all children lose their innocence and good will as they grow up. Thus, he is stuck in an in-between where he wants to prevent children from maturing into adults. Eventually, he realizes that adulthood is not all the evil and corruption in the world, and that you cannot interfere with the natural process of growing up: “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but