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Theme Of Adolescence In The Catcher In The Rye 10th Grade English Essay

869 words - 4 pages

Adolescence is a phase of life that everyone goes through between the ages of twelve and their
early twenties. It is the period where adolescents figure out who they are and where their lives
are headed as they enter adulthood. J.D. Salinger's best selling novel ​The Catcher in the​ ​Rye​’s
protagonist Holden Caulfield is at this phase of life where he is finding out new things about life
and himself. ​Through Holden Caulfield, Salinger expresses that along with​ ​adolescence comes
new topics that adolescents find difficult to figure out.
Learning how to develop relationships especially intimate ones with significant others is
something that adolescents have to learn how to deal with. Holden like many teens today is
uncertain of how to approach the topic of sex. Holden's experience with intimacy and his frame
of thought about it shows just how confused he is about the matter. On page 92, Holden says, "
The thing is most of the time when you're coming pretty close to doing it with a girl she keeps
telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don't. I can't help it. You never
know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they're just scared as hell, or whether
they're just telling you to stop so that if you do go through with it, the blame'll be on you."
Clearly, Holden is very inexperienced about sex due to the confused train of thought he has
about the reasons why girls say no to sex. Salinger is trying to convey that teens don't know what
to do in situations like addressing new things such as sex, due to their lack of experience. This
lack of experience leads them to be very confused in the end.
Teens sometimes fear the end of adolescence because it means the start of their adulthood. It
means having responsibilities. To many, if not all teens, this huge transition can be extremely
nerve wracking and something they want to avoid. When Holden is faced with the idea that
adulthood is vastly approaching during a conversation with Sally Hayes, he becomes angered.
On page 133 it reads, "I said no, there wouldn't be marvelous places to go to after I went to
college and all. It'd be entirely different. We'd have to go downstairs in elevators with
suitcases.id be working in some office making a lot of dough, riding to work in cabs, reading
newspapers and going to movies and seeing a lot of stupid shorts. It wouldn't be the same at all."
In other words Holden is trying...

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