Catcher in the Rye by Salinger Essay

872 Words 4 Pages
Throughout the novel, Holden struggles to find meaning and purpose in his life. Holden’s ambivalence about growing up is an extension of his struggle to find his way in what he finds to be a cruel, heartless world run by corrupted adults. From beginning to end, Holden behaves hypocritically as a result of his internal struggle as he tries to find his identity and his external struggle with the society in which he lives.
There are numerous examples of Holden’s actions contradicting his beliefs as he attempts to find identity and meaning in his progression into adulthood. In the first chapter, Holden recognizes that he acts childishly: “I still act sometimes like I was only about twelve. Everybody says that, especially my father. It's
…show more content…
Antolini and the Nuns, he chooses to focus on the negative ones because they conform to his idea of the adult world. Again, Holden exhibits childish behavior by doing this because he is unwilling to acknowledge that his perception of the world may be skewed.
Holden’s cynical nature is part of the reason why Holden associates adulthood exclusively with its negative aspects. To Holden, the adult world seems disgusting, disingenuous and harsh. In the New York Hotel, Holden is disgusted by the other guests: “I'm not kidding, the hotel was lousy with perverts. I was probably the only normal bastard in the whole place--and that isn't saying much.” (Salinger, 34) Holden finds the sexual behavior of the cross dresser and the couple spitting at each other repulsive, yet Holden constantly has sex on his mind. For example, he seeks out Luce with the sole purpose of talking about sex. Holden is both fascinated and repulsed by sex. This is a crucial part of Holden’s struggle with growing up. Holden also is frustrated by the adult world because he thinks that most adults are disingenuous or “phonies”. Perhaps the best example of type of “phony” Holden refers to is Mr. Haas, the headmaster of Elkton Hills: “One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. For instance, they had they has this headmaster, Mr. Haas, that was the phoniest bastard I ever met in my life… On Sundays, for instance, old Haas went around shaking hands with

Related Documents