The Catcher in the Rye as a Coming-of-Age Story Essay

The Catcher in the Rye can be read as a coming-of-age story. How does Holden’s Character change or mature during the course of the book? To what level are there TWO Holden Caulfields in the book, and what is the difference between them?

The novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D Salinger is a coming-of-age story. It follows the short tale of Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy, who throughout his experiences in the novel, modifications and ends up being more fully grown and independent.

The story essentially has two Holden Caulfields, the one telling the story, and the one that the story is being outlined. This essay will take a look at the distinctions and similarities in between the two Holden’s’.

It is obvious that the Holden Caulfield who remains in the story, is a much different version than the one informing you the story. In the beginning, Holden comes off as a bit of a conceited tool, and most of the people in his life are getting fed up with him. They find it difficult to invest any elongated amount of time with him. There are a number of instances in the book where Holden is feeling lonely, and he tries to reach out to individuals, and strike up conversations with complete strangers, yet time and time once again, he is being closed down or shutting people down. “The first thing I did when I got off at Penn station, I went into this phone cubicle. I felt like giving somebody a buzz.” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 53)

He then goes through a list of individuals who he might call, but each time develops an excuse or factor not to call them “So I ended up not calling anyone.” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 53) Holden is searching for a companion. He is sad and lonely, and looking for someone to reach out to as he remains in desperate requirement of human interaction. Sadly enough, Holden is not able to make this connection with anyone. However, had we as the reader, not understood Holden’s inner most thoughts, the method he talks about others and himself, and what matters to him, we would more than most likely not empathise with Holden. It is Holden’s vulnerability and solitude that make him a relatable character.

The Holden Caulfield that is telling the story is a far more grown version of the one in the story. The self-narration of Holden’s life is what gives the reader an insight into the way he thinks and feels. It assists you understand why Holden is the method he is. Without this explanation from him, you would not empathise with him, or like him quite at all. It’s the little stories he tells, like the story about Allies baseball mitt, “… Allie had this left-handed fielders mitt … he had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere. In green ink.” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 33) or about how he understands Jane Gallagher, “You were never ever even anxious, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not.

All you knew was, you mored than happy. You really were” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 72) that make you see the softer side to him. Holden’s connection with his little bro Allie was really special to him. This appears in the way he discusses Allie. He holds Allie approximately these excellent expectations, stating “You ‘d have liked him” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 33) and convincing you how excellent he was and how intelligent and unique he was. You are now able to connect and sympathise for Holden, due to the fact that he has informed you everything about the important things that imply most to him, and you can’t assist however feel a little sorry for him.

Although there are essentially 2 Holdens, there are still characteristics that stay the very same. Throughout the story, Holden feels the requirement to discuss and justify himself, as though people do not believe him. Holden tells the story from his childhood, from when he was buddies with Jane Gallagher. He begins to explain that when he was with Jane, they might hold hands and “All you knew was, you pleased. You really were.” (Salinger, 1945-6, p. 72) Holden has this routine of repeating himself for emphasis and due to the fact that he feels as however without it, people do not think what he is telling them. This only leads the reader to think what he is saying is false. Holden does this throughout the book, which only makes you question his dependability as a storyteller, but also makes you understand that he has a lot of attributes that stay the same in the Holden telling the story and the Holden in the story.

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is a story about a teenage young boy searching for himself whilst taking a trip through New york city, lonely and searching for companionship. Holden is a likeable character because he is a character you can relate to, understand and empathise with. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is essentially a story about a kid maturing.

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