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Holden Caufield believes childhood and adulthood are like two different worlds that will never understand

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Holden Caufield believes childhood and adulthood are like two different worlds that will never understand each other, and he will do everything within his power to stop himself and everyone around from changing.

Written by Katie, Oliver, and Laura

How is this important as a theme in the novel?

The theme of childhood versus adulthood is important as a theme in the novel because it is witnessed throughout the entire novel by Holden’s interactions, thoughts, and words.

Holden doesn’t want to make the transition between being a child and becoming an adult, he is reluctant to face the reality of becoming responsible and accepting change.

What are some examples of this theme in the novel?
  • The museum- Holden likes it because nothing changes. It’s the only thing in his life that always stay the same. Holden has a problem accepting change and the museum allows him to be the same and avoid change for just a little while.
  • The catcher in the rye- Holden wants to protect kids from growing up by letting them have fun and be a kid. He protects them from falling of a cliff which represents growing up. “I’d just want to be the catcher in the rye and all” (Salinger 173)
  • Holden’s hat- Holden wears his hunting hat whenever something bad happens to him. He uses it for his protective shield and he feels protected with it on. He wears it backward because it makes him feel happy and like a child again. Holden uses it to protect himself from the problems around him so that he doesn’t have to face them and be mature and grow up .
  • New York-Holden tries to escape taking responsibility by running away to New York instead of telling his parents that he got kicked out of school.
  • People telling him to grow up- Holden is constantly being told to grow up and mature throughout the novel. It’s as if he refuses to face the fact that he needs to become an adult and accept responsibility. “When in the hell are you going to grow up?” (Salinger 146)
Think about Holden’s vision of the nature of childhood and adulthood. Are the two realms as separate as Holden believes them to be?
  • It is Holden’s belief that Childhood and Adulthood are both separate and very different. He treats adulthood like a horrible place that he must never find himself.
  • While it is not stated, you can infer that Holden believes childhood and adulthood are like two separate worlds that will never understand each other. While this may be a little bit of an exaggeration, he does make a valid argument.
  • In my opinion, children and adults will never be fully able to understand each other. Adults will never fully understand the stresses of a teenager and vice versa.
  • Teenagers don’t fully understand the difficulties of being an adult. They don’t understand how difficult it can be to be an adult. They have many different stresses.
  • Adults will not be able to understand teenagers. They were once teenagers as well, but they seem to have forgotten how difficult being a teenager can be, especially in this day and age. There are many factors that can burden teenagers in the modern day that weren’t there in the past.
Where does he fit in?
  • Holden doesn’t really fit in anywhere. He wants to be a child but everyone around him expects him to be more mature and act like an adult but he won’t. Everyone he knows is now different, they are moving on with their lives without him.
  • Holden has problems with change because it means having to move on from his past. He thinks that if he can stay young at heart no one else will change and he can be frozen in time forever.

The only place Holden fits is in his hunting hat.

Significance of the title – in depth analysis.

Holden wants to become a catcher in the rye. He wants to protect kid from falling off a cliff while they play in a field of rye.

He wants to protect the kids from growing up, and facing adulthood.

Holden wants other children to have no responsibilities and worries about what they do, he wants the kids to stay young and innocent forever and never know the heart ache of death or fights or love lost.

Comparison to Peter Pan
  • Holden, much like Peter Pan is reluctant to grow up. They enjoy being naïve and oblivious to the issues faced in adulthood.
  • They run away in order to escape from growing up and facing responsibilities.
  • Peter Pan brings kids to Neverland so that they don’t have to grow up. Holden feels that if he can catch the kids from falling off the cliff in the rye, they won’t have to grow up.

QUIZ TIME

??????????????????

1.

What is the main theme that we are trying to communicate?

Childhood Vs. Adulthood

2.

What are some of the examples of this theme in the novel?

Museum

Hat

Running Away

Catcher in the Rye

3.

Where does Holden stand on the issue of growing up?

Holden thinks that childhood and adulthood are two different places that will never meet and nothing is the same

4.

Why does Holden want to be a catcher in the rye?

So that he can save kids from falling off the cliff into adulthood

5.

How does Holden relate to Peter Pan?

Both of these characters don’t want to face adulthood and don’t want other to either

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