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Theme Of Growing Up in The Catcher In The Rye

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As many know it is a hard transition to go from being an innocent child to a teenager who is realizing what this world consists of. Like Holden from the Catcher in the Rye who is questioning humanity, difficulty being emotionally stable and acting rebellious. Holden demonstrates actions of a normal teenager and doesn’t have any psychological behavior. Every action taken throughout the book is Holden journey to reach the level of maturity he reaches at last. At last Holden understands what life consists of.

Throughout the book Holden starts to question the idea on why people lie a lot. Everyone around him in his opinion acts like a “phony”. Like any other teenager based on the “Developing adolescents” it is normal for adolescents to, “ask open ended questions” just like Holden is in this occasion. There is no “yes” or “no” answer to his question and it’s an open ended question which helps “adolescent think through ideas and options” (pg:16) . At some point Holden is talking with his sister and he tells her “I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff- I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going” (pg: 191). Holden wants to “catch kids” from going through what he goes through because he is concerned, but this idea changes at the end of the book. In page 232 Holdens states, “if they wants to grab the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything” at this point Holden demonstrates maturity and like any other teenager he is reaching the end of the “teenage phase” everyone eventually goes through. He understands that he can’t save everyone from what life is about. The main point is that Holden understood with his journey is that in order for someone else to learn about life they must fall and stand up alone. At this point Holden is thinking like any other teenager who shows no psychological behavior.

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Like any other teenager Holden is having problems being emotionally stable. In “Developing adolescents” it states that occasionally teenagers “feel depressed and are lacking energy,” (pg:16) which could justify the low self esteem Holden is going through. In the book on page 6 Holden also mentions that he was “fluncking four subjects” which is because he is lacking energy and motivation for his education. Like many other teens the majority go through this phase. It’s the point in life where a teen cares more about his social life and popularity among others. Based on “school, education and teenagers”, “It's normal for teenagers to go through rough patches at school,” like Holden was at some point, which is why he got kicked out. At the beginning of the book in chapter 2 Holden was trying to reach out to old spencer. This is demonstrating that Holden still cared about his well being in school, but he found the conversation leading nowhere and he left. In addition, to support this point in “developing adolescents” it states that “declines in academic performance are common following the move to middle or junior high”, which was the current situation of Holden.

At last, as discussed previously Holden felt this happiness. Holden like any other normal teenager went through rough patches in life but he managed to get through them. With what he went through is what made him understand that life is not easy. It can be seen at last that Holden reaches full maturity and finds happiness.

While there is an argument stating that Holden is in depression which is why he drinks there is research that prove this idea wrong. Based on “developing adolescents” in page 29 “81% of high school students have tried alcohol” which proves why Holden drinks occasionally. Throughout the book he didn’t drink many times, and it’s normal among teens to try alcohol at some point in their teenage years. Mainly because of curiosity and because many other teenagers do. Usually at this point all a teenager is trying to do is fit in among his/her friends. When Holden drank in the book afterwards he was still the same teenager and he never did anything crazy to show that he could have a psychological behavior. Also, Holden is not addicted to alcohol to be happy. An addiction is something you can’t live without 24 hours. For example, on page 233 Holden “felt so damn happy” just by observing Allie and he did not take any substance to feel this happiness. This also proves that Holden is not in any condition. Like any other teenager something did make him happy and it was his sister.

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Theme Of Growing Up in The Catcher In The Rye. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Theme Of Growing Up in The Catcher In The Rye.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
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