Holden Caulfield: Typical American Teenager Essay

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It is difficult to really define American teenagers, but they’re seen as confused and without any real identity age wise. Although not as prominent as in the 20th century, teenagers have to deal with a misleading phoniness in society today. The teenage years are when a person really decides (or has a decision forced on them) how their views will develop, such as living with optimism or pessimism. Because of pressure from media, peers and parents, teenagers either try to grow up too quickly or simply refuse and get left behind. All of these characteristics are related to Holden Caulfield in various ways. Even just on the surface, Holden is a typical teenager, with his low self esteem and bad language. Therefore, based on what it means …show more content…
In one instance, Holden reminisces about golfing, saying, “I’m a very good golfer…I almost was once in a movie short but I changed my mind at the last minute. I figured that anyone that hates the movies as much as I do, I’d be a phony if I let them stick me on a movie short,” (Salinger, 77). So, Holden was going to be in a golf video, but, disliking movies so greatly, he decided not to be in it because it would make him a phony. Holden worries too much about his perception, he’s always afraid that someone will see him as a phony and he lets it outweigh almost everything in his life. Most American teenagers are overly-concerned with their images and how others will look at them, so Holden is a typical American teenager. Furthermore, in addition to his take on phoniness, the American teenager’s view of optimism vs. pessimism significantly affects their world view. A person’s general outlook will be determined in their teenage years, so it is the time when someone needs to find out or determine whether their life will be conducted by optimism or pessimism. Holden is really pretty set on being a pessimist. He tends to over think and overanalyze things in his life, and he can always make some kind of connection to something depressing in his life. Holden really wraps it all up by saying, “Almost every time someone gives me a present, it ends up making me sad,” (Salinger, 52). Most people tend to be happy when they’re

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