Growth Vs. Maturity
“Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others”- Hermann Hesse, Gertrude. In The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield grows incredibly through out the novel, however he still has a great amount of maturing to do. Holden is insecure and believes he is a failure. He is emotionally unstable, but he has a passion to look after Phoebe and raise her so she doesn’t end up ruining her life similar to the way he did. Holden has shown immaturity across the entire novel, but he has also shown altruism and sensitivity towards Phoebe and her development.
Holden never feels a sense of security in the world around him; he views himself as a failure. Holden introduces himself in the novel by telling his readers he is unintelligent: “As a matter of fact, I’m the only dumb one in my family” (Salinger, pg.67). Holden underestimates himself, and this causes others to misjudge his intellectual ability: “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot” (18). Holden uses objects or symbols to hide his insecurity and represent his emotion. He buys a red hunting hat to put on when he feels insecure: “I took my old hunting hat out of my pocket while I walked and put it on. I knew I wouldn’t meet anybody that knew me, and it was pretty damp out.” Another example of Holden using this hat to shield his insecurities is when he says “I pulled the peak of my hunting hat around to the front all of a sudden, for a change. I was getting sort of nervous, all of a sudden. I'm quite a nervous guy" (34). Holden continuously asks strangers if they know who takes care of the ducks in the winter, this symbolizes a feeling that Holden experiences of not having someone to catch him while he falls: “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any...