Identity Crisis in Adolescence as Portrayed by Erik Ericson in Relation to Stories of "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Ragged Dick"
Erikson defines identity crisis as “a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself” (Erikson, 20-27). He studied cultural life among various indigenous tribes such as the Yurok of Northern California and the Sioux of South Dakota from which he developed the theories of identity development and identity crisis.
Erikson did describe identity as a sense and an observable quality of personal image and continuity which is usually combined with some belief in the image and commencement of shared world perspective (Erikson, 17- 23).
Identity reveals itself when one discovers areas that he/she gets uniformity. Characteristics that are associated with identity would include: body type and temperament, giftedness and vulnerability, infantile models and acquired ideals – with the open choices provided in available roles, occupational possibilities, values offered, mentors met, friendships made, and first sexual encounters.
In the story of "The Catcher in the Rye", Holden is seen as a teenager who first gets out of school because of his poor performance he gets agitated easily and fights his roommate before leaving to New York. As explained by Erikson teenagers tend to be quick to temper as they haven’t acquired the skills to deal with issues that tend to affect them directly instead they direct their rage to other people.
As a teenager Holden wants to try out his first sexual encounter and was taken aback when the prostitute he chose turned out to be of his age. He wasn’t sure with what he wanted he ended up just having a talk with the girl but he did show that he was becoming of age by keeping his word of paying the prostitute the agreed amount.
Erik Ericson explains that adolescents like to be in control of their surrounding or at least of issues they view as capable to handle. For instance, Holden...