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‘’I think that one of these days,’ he said, ‘you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you’’. In J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye the main character Holden Caufield comes from an emotional background and some emotional events and does not grow emotionally but stays just as immature as he was at the beginning of the book. People should come out of their teenage years ready for the real world and to be ready to become an adult but in Holden’s case he stays the same character and shows little to no growth. Holden goes through many situations in the novel and still comes out the same person that he was at the end at the end. At the end of the book Holden still has the same childish views on life; he thinks violent, he’s depressed, confused, and irresponsible. Throughout the whole book Holden fantasizes about killing people, he is immature when it comes to sex, his interactions with kids, and he does not think out his actions and dreams before he tries to do them. This ends up hurting him and other people.
According to Isabel Meese in her article the immaturity of Holden in Catcher and the Rye she also believes that Holden is immature and does not progress has a character in the novel. ‘’I can very clearly see you dying nobly one way or another for some highly unworthy cause then he goes to his desk and dashes off on a slip of paper. The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while “the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one”. ”I think that Holden is stuck between teenage angst, some clinical depression, and his own intellect. Holden is able to see the hypocrisy of the world yet doesn’t have the maturity to put it all in perspective. He is still an adolescent caught in his raging hormones and teenage malaise. Holden is looking for outlets for his angst while trying to comprehend truth and honesty. Holden doesn’t yet have the maturity to understand the many shades of wrong and right that makes us all so human and so fallible. Holden is a budding existentialist caught in the body of a teenager”. I agree with Isabel that Holden is immature in this way because he would die for a causeless reason and that he is stuck in his own teenage body in a way. For example when he said he wants to be the catcher in the rye, so he basically wants to be the hero in every story instead of being the “basic” person. Although I don’t agree with Isabel when she said that Holden didn’t grow at all has a character because at the end Holden actually realizes that he needs to go back to school and try this time to be something in life. And also its not all Holdens fault that he’s not on track in life or that he doesn’t do good because most teenagers have parents that help make the important decisions for you were in Holden’s case, he doesn’t have his parents there for him.
During the beginning of the story, Holden thinks about killing many people. He wanted to kill Stradlater, his roommate for dating Jane Gallagher his old friend. Holden knew what kind of guy Stradlater was and thought stradlater would take advantage of Jane and got unhappy about this. Holden actually does fight Stradlater but gets hurt, so Holden goes to violence and ends up getting hurt because of his violent act he also hurts Stradater in a way because they can no longer be as good of friends. Holden also puts on his hunting hat and calls it a “people shooting” hat. Later on in the story Holden also thinks about killing people when Maurice the pimp hurts Holden and steals his money Holden acts like he got shot in the stomach. He Also pretends that he is going down the stairs with a gun to shoot Maurice and get revenge ‘’Maurice is an angry pimp who prostitutes out a young girl, steals five dollars, and punches Holden in the stomach. He wears a ‘phony shirt collar’ under his uniform, has a ‘big fat hairy stomach’ and looks ‘very, very tired or very, very bored’ the whole time he’s intimidating Holden into paying five more dollars for the privilege of talking to a nervous teenager’’. Holden does not actually do this but it shows how he is immature and violent it also shows how holden still has that little kid imagination when he’s acting like he’s going to go do something or when he acts like hes “dying”. Also when Holden is going to see Phoebe at school, he sees that someone has written “fuck you” on the wall. He starts to get angry and wants to bash the skull of whoever did that on the marble floor so they are all bloody.” the windows in the garage with his bare hands he is so upset that he breaks his hand in the violent episode. This story, told in summary, is essential because it shows how adolescents deal with broader issues like death and loss with violence. Holden has to be psychoanalyzed after the breakdown because he was so violent that he broke his hand”. So this shows how violent and angry Holden can get and he gets so violent over little things that don’t matter that he does immature things that end up hurting him in the long run. He also does not know how to deal with it and that shows how immature he is and hasnt grown up.
Holden also doesnt figure out his views and how he feels about sex. At the beginning he hates Stradlater because he takes advantage of girls then he says has never done anything to a girl because he always stops when they say stop. Holden says that he would have to really like the girl’s face and really get to know the person before he could have sex with them.” Holden’s confidence when it comes to romantic relationships emerges early in the novel, as he refers to himself as a “sex maniac.” However, this confidence isn’t quite as sturdy as one might expect, which becomes clear when Holden can’t contain his jealousy after Stradlater goes on a date with Jane Gallagher”. This is saying how Holden is sexualy immatur when he calls himself a sex maniac but he has never had sex or know what sex is and he a hipacrite because hes talking about sex in this way when he doesnt like stranler talking about it like that. When Holden gets to New York he calls Faith Cavendish who he thinks is a stripper. He does not even know her but he wants to have sex with her, This goes against everything he said before when he said he would need to know the girl and thinks shes cute. And then when Holden gets to the hotel Maurice offers Holden a hooker and he accepts Holden then does not do anything with her because he is nervous and it does not seem right to him this shows how confused Holden relly is about sex. It is a foreign thing to him and something we never see him figures it out. He has ideals that he sets for himself but he never follows through and even sometimes depending he does a oneighty and does the complete opposite of what he first said. He also ask Carl Luce an old friends at his school about sex but Carl is uncomfortable talking about it not only to Holden a sexually awkward teenager but also in public where that stuff shouldnt be talked about and Holden learns nothing new. And we never see Holden learns how to control his emotions and actions about love and sex.
Holden never does and never learn how to think about his actions. In the beginning Holden makes lots of wrong decisions. He runs away from Pencey without even telling his parents he was kicked out. That was a bad decision because when his parents find out he would have been in even more trouble for not telling them. Holden also constantly lies to people throughout the book which shows his immaturity like for example later in the book Holden makes some really poor in the moment choices too, he scares Sally Hayes a girl he goes on a date with by telling her that they should get married and move up north and live in a cabin. He urges her to do it and even starts yelling at her and making a seen Sally cries and says he is crazy. This shows how Holden does not think out his actions which ends up hurting himself and others. He also spends money without thinking Holden spends money on taxis, hotel rooms, food, dates, and the nuns. He does not think about managing his money and then he is forced to take his sister Phoebe’s Christmas money. Holden’s lack of thinking hurts himself and others. Lastly, Holden plans to run away to the west and just get away from everyone. He would have done it but Phoebe stops him. Running away would have been really dumb because he didn’t have much money or anywhere to go. Holden never learns to think about his actions and this shows that he does not grow up.
Holden and Phoebe’s relationship is a close, seems loving but Phoebe is more mature than Holden who is years older than holden. Phoebe is Holden emotional support, without Phoebe Holden would have ran off somewhere with no money because he couldn’t get it from Phoebe. Holden only holds up mostly because he tries to be an example or protect Phoebe childhood. This makes Holden look very immature because when your younger sister is the only thing supporting you financially (towards the end of the book), and stoping you from doing immature and stupid things throughout the book whos really the kid? “I said I’m not going back to school. You can do what you want to do, but I’m not going back to school,” she said. “So shut up.” It was the first time she ever told me to shut up. It sounded terrible. God, it sounded terrible”. ”You don’t like anything that happens”. Phoebe is challenging her brother to try at something because he always gives up or finds excuses when he doesn’t like something. And Holden gets upset and defensive because she calls him out, like a little kid would get upset if they got in trouble, and shows his immaturity.
In J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye the main character Holden Caufield comes from an emotional background and some emotional events and does not grow emotionally but stays just as immature as he was at the beginning of the book. People should come out of their teenage years ready for the real world and to be ready to become an adult but in Holden’s case he stays the same character and shows little to no growth. He also never figures out his views on sex. He thinks he knows his views on sex and what he would do if he was in that situations but he does not follow through with his ideals and is to scared to even call the girl he likes. Holden also never learns how to think out his decisions. He makes many choices without putting much thought into them and this hurts himself and others. This shows that Holden is immature and still stuck in his childish ways and never showed much growth in the book.
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