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Holden Caulfield and a Coming of Age

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If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Holden Caulfied looks at things in such a negative tone throughout the novel, Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has a very negative view on everything besides his little sister, Phoebe, he loves her and cares so much for her. Holden Caulfield grew up with little to no parental guidance. This retarded his mental health devolpment. Being poorly nurtured hurts a person’s mental health and affects a person's positive perspective on people, the world and a person’s maturity.

Not being properly nurture as an adolescent can affect your mental health. Caulfield starts the book on a negative tone, Caulfield groaned “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,” (Salinger 1) Holden Caulfield’s tone of voice is alluding to the fact that he doesn’t like his life. This is only the start of the book and he is already using an idle, sluggish tone talking about himself. Caulfield growing up didn't really like school even though his parents put him in uppity private schools. Caulfeild ended up dropping out and living a life of his own in New York. Salinger wrote this line because it relates to his life, Salinger lived a very private life in New York and so did Caulfield. Caulfield doesn't let anyone in because he thinks everyone is a phony and not true to themselves. This ties back into Mental Health because in a sense, Holden Caulfield views the world as half-empty because he has a negative outlook in almost everything in his life.

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In addition to the previous statement, having a negative outlook on life can hinder your maturity. Holden is thinking about 'Well you know the ducks that swim around in it? In the springtime and all? Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime, by any chance?' (Salinger 107) Ducks are able to adapt and change during different seasons. Holden Caulfield doesn’t like to change or change itself. Holden Caulfield perspective on everything is what's making him not fully mature which is going to affect his mental health in the future.

Finally, pessimistic thoughts can lead to a one-sided view of the world. Holden Caulfield rebuked “This fall I think your riding for- it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind...The whole arrangements designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with...So they gave up looking.' (Salinger 245) was Caulfield’s black and white view makes him believe that when you are an adolescent you are considered innocent, but once you mature you lose all of that innocences. This is portrayed when he doesn't even think to believe Mr.Antolini about his “fall”, Caulfield thinks that he is just being a phony and lying about what happened.

All in all, when a person has a negative or pessimistic view on the world and in life, it limits the relationships a person can potentially makes and can hinder your maturity. JD Salinger wrote this book as an announcement that the protection of innocence is the key to a good life.

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Holden Caulfield and a Coming of Age. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“Holden Caulfield and a Coming of Age.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
Holden Caulfield and a Coming of Age. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
Holden Caulfield and a Coming of Age [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from:
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