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Holden's Attitudes Toward Childhood and Adulthood in Salinger's, The Catcher in the Rye

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Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. In the book Holden hears a quote “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he want to live humbly for one” (Salinger 188) which he embraces as he matures throughout the story. Holden’s opinions of childhood and adulthood change as he grows through experience.
Throughout the story Holden emphasizes his love for childhood innocence. In a passage he says “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.” (Salinger 211) This immediately points to his affinity for innocence and not having the limits of being and adult. The controversy is he loves innocence; Holden is not and acts far from innocent. His many problems and lack of help that follows, and his many responsibilities withdraw from his innocence. He enjoys the lack of self-awareness, the blindness to morality, and the sexual innocence of being a child with such obsession that he fails to see his own absence of tho...


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