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Fear of Growing up in The Catcher in the Rye Essay


The most powerful theme in this book has got to be the fear of growing up. Holden portrays this in several instances in the book. For example, Holden is almost constantly calling several things phony. These phony things are usually things he relates to adulthood. Not only does Holden fear adulthood himself, but he also wants to save others from becoming adults. As he explains about his dream job we learn that Holdens only place in life is to catch people who fall from the rye.

A global issue is people who suffer from Tropophobia. Tropophobia is the fear of changes. Tropophobia is caused by severe trauma that is somehow linked to moving or sudden changes. The problem with Tropophobia is that older people with this illness tend to have extreme problems with moving out of their homes and going into an old-folks home. This sudden change could lead to insanity or suicide, depending on the extent of the illness. I believe that Holden has a slight case of this illness, caused by the death of his younger brother, Allie. This would explain the reason that Holden loves the Museum. Holden loves it because it never changes, its always the same and is always predictable.

One piece of literature I could easily relate this book with is a certain book named A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The reason these two books relate is because A Clockwork Orange also follows a young mans journey into adulthood. Holden and Alex -the main character in A Clockwork Orange- are both going through the stage of becoming adults and are both unsure of what is expected or what they should do. Both protagonists leave school at a young age though go into different directions, Holden hopes to see the world for the last time through the eyes of his still innocent body before becoming an adult. While Alex seeks to destroy what remains of his innocence by getting caught up in the world of sex, violence and drugs.

The author of this book uses symbolism in several instances, he shows Holdens curiosity about the ducks in the lagoon. Holden doesnt understand how the ducks are so adequate with change while he fears it so much. The author also mentions the strangeness of Holdens hat, this represents his uniqueness and how he doesnt want to become like other people, like adults. The red hunting hat is also symbolic in the way that both Allies and Phoebes hair is red, this represents how Holden wants to be like them; the fact that they are both young and innocent attracts Holden to want to be like them.

The second literary device that the author uses is when he uses the rye-field to explain how people fall into adulthood. He uses the term falling because falling into or towards something is usually used in a negative aspect.

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