Essay, Research Paper: Catcher In The Rye

Literature: Catcher in The Rye

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Often in literature characters, through different experiences, undergo changes
which enable them to grow. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the author J.D.
Salinger portrays Holden as a confused adolecent. The author conveys Holden’s
inner growth through specific incidents. When Holden is expelled from Pencey he
grows and developes a new attitude towards his family. After meeting with a
prostitute Holden becomes more mature when he realizes that sex does not fill
the gaps of lonliness. Finally when Holden is reunited with his sister Phoebe he
realizes that the innocence of children can not be preserved forever. Holden
experienced inner growth after he is expelled from Pencey, he meets a prostitue
and is reunited with his sister Phoebe. Holden’s poor marks and attendence
have lead him to being expelled from Pencey. Pencey, Holden felt was crammed
with phonies. “ It was one of the worst schools I ever went to , it was full
of phonies.” (67) Holden was always depressed and distressed at Pencey. “ I
felt like committing suiside.” (107) . Without any sense of direction in his
life Holden seeks advice from from one of his old teachers, Mr. Spencer. During
his visit with his former teacher , Holden is told by Mr. Spencer that “ Life
is a game boy. Life is a game one plays according to the rules.” (8). Holden
feels that life is a game only if you are on the side where all the hotshots
are, otherwise there is no game. Holden’s lonliness forces him to cotact past
friends. After meeting with a few of his old friends Holden is left feeling
unfulfilled. Holden decides to return home to be with his family when he recalls
memories of Phoebe. Phoebe was always very devotedly attached to Holden. “She
likes me a lot . I mean she’s quite fond of me. She really is. Anyway, I
couldn’t get that off my mind, so finally what I figured what I’d do, I’d
sneak home to see her, in case I died and all.” (156). Holden comes to
understand the importance of family and achieves inner growth after he is
expelled from Pencey. Holden also experiences inner growth as a result of hiw
encounter with a prostitute. Holden feels that when it comes to girls he can
never find what he is looking for. Still a virgin Holden explains to us that in
most cases the girl is the one who does not want to have sex. Though in
Holden’s case, he is the one opposed to having sex. When Holden is asked if he
would like a prostitute he does not hestitate to accept the offer. Holden
admitts that having sex with a prostitute would be a good time to practice
before marriage. “ In a way, that’s why I sort of wanted to get some
practice in case I ever get married.” (93). Holden waited nervously yet
anxiously for the prostitute to arrive. However when she finally arrived Holden
comes to realize that the prostitute is all about buisness. Holden is completely
turned off when she takes off her clothes and utters “ Let’s go, hey. I
haven’t got all day.” (96). Unexpectingly Holden requests tha prositute to
leave. “ The trouble was I just didn’t want to do it. I felt more depressed
than sexy , if you want to know the truth.” (86). Holden was looking for
someone or something to fill his gap of lonliness. Through Holden’s experience
with the prostitute he realized that sex wasn’t the way to go about filling
his gap. This situation caused Holden to grow and this changed his attitude
towards sex. Another individual who helped Holden grow was his sister Phoebe.
When Holden is reunited with his sister he displays his yearing to preserve
childrens’ innocence. “ Some body’d written f**k on the wall. It damn near
drove me crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it,
and wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell
them all cock-eyed naturally what it meant and how they’d all think about it
and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days.” (201). Holden is
obviously upset when he reads the slag written on the wall. It seemed as if
Holden wanted to protect Phoebe from adulthood. He wanted Phoebe to remain young
and innocent forever. However near the end of the novel Holden reaches at
turning point in his life when he witnsses Phoebe on the carousel. Holden comes
to understnad that he can not protect children forever. They must grow and
experience the world.Witneesing all of the coruption and evil in the world molds
children and teaches them to cope with life. Holden now realizes that he too
must grow by coping with the side of life that he does not like. After Holden is
expellrd from Pencey , meets a prostitute amd is reunited with his sister Phoebe
he undergoes changes which enable him to experience inner growth. Holden has no
sense of direction after he is expelled from Pencey. His aimless wandering and
seeking of companionship finally leads him back to his family. Holden
experienced inner groth when he gains a new undrstanding of how imporatant
family is. Meeting witha prositute leaves Holden feeling unfulfilled. Holden
grows and as a result realizes that sex does not compensate for companionship.
Finally when Holden is reunited with Phoebe he learns that he can not preserve
the innocence of children forever . Holden’s new inner growth enables him to
realize that he too must deal with the side of life he does not prefer. Growth
and change are both an inevitable part of life’s long journey.
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