Essay on Trading Innocence For Adulthood

Submitted By Pockaj16
Words: 1555
Pages: 7

Personal Response: What Three Characteristics Does Salinger Portray of Teens in the Novel Catcher in the Rye

I think that as teens, we are all afraid of the big change. Even though we all say we want to grow up and be independent, we know that sometimes growing up can be bad thing too. I think that we all expect to have this big amazing dream world when in reality, the world is a dark and scary place. I think that JD. Salinger is used many symbols throughout the novel to show the similarities that teenagers have with the world through Holden Caulfield. I think that teenagers undergo three stages within life. One being youthful, and full of freedom. Followed by the awkward sexual stage where they are not too sure what to do, and I don’t mean like “where to put your hands when kissing etc.” I mean like they don’t know how to channel their emotions, and how to really feel passion and even in some cases compassion. And finally we grow up, and we become adults, we move away/ move on, and we are left with a hole. We need to fill this empty void and most times we undergo stages of loneliness. Just like Holden, we travel on this journey of life, and we cannot help but question about why we must move forward? Why can’t we stay young and innocent forever? Imagine when you were younger, and you went to a carnival, and you got your first cotton candy. You analyzed that thing like you were are a detective. There are so many ways one can describe cotton candy (fluffy, puffy, soft, magical, sweet, etc.) and as a child, you can come up with many many more adjectives to describe this one little thing. That is innocence. Being able to take something that so simple, sugar that has been mixed with air, and make it into a floss, and imagine it as the center of your universe for just a few moments. Back then our attention span’s we short, but we remembered most details, because everything was important. Nothing was shoved under the rug or forgotten about. It was simply enjoyed for the moment you had with it until you ate it. I think that Salinger wants to show us that Holden by not paying attention in school and acting out by failing, and constantly smoking as a symbol for innocence and of childishness. He was always saying what was on his mind, whether it was positive or negative, which got him into a lot of trouble. Just like a child who will tell a pregnant lady she is fat, or a fat lady she looks pregnant. Innocence is a lovely thing to have, but once you reach a certain age, you need to let go of it or you will get in trouble just like how Holden was always frowned upon for his childish ways. Holden was blunt. He said what was needed, and he did not really care about being judged, he calls his brother a prostitute, and he even says at the very beginning of the novel when talking about himself, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like . . . and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth"’ (SALINGER 1) He doesn't really want to get into the details, he is acting as if his life was innocent, like most David Copperfield introductions. But he really wanted to stay away from his past, I think that this was one of the first signs of Holden’s transformation into adulthood. That sometimes we would rather not tell the stories of when we were in elementary school, or the secrets that you have kept since then. Which means you are ready to move forward, and grow up. Holden is narrating the novel at the age of 17, but he is describing how things were when he was sixteen. This is important because well, that is the prime age of sexual awkwardness. I think that it is where most teens struggle with emotions. This is where they are really first vulnerable, at school, home, getting jobs etc. We are now not children, but “teens” we have more responsibilities, which means more