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The bildungsroman Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger allowed me to perceive the life of a teenager named Holden Caulfield; how he went through the process of transforming from a child to an adult. The opening sentence of the novel captured my attention since it started with the phrase,” If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born…but I don’t feel like going into it if you want to know the truth.” This opening statement gave me a desire to discover more about the narrator’s life because he refused to tell me what I want to know about him. By reading through the first line, I already have an idea of him being an immature person due to the fact that he liked to play hide-and-seek games with the readers.

However, the ending of the novel provided me with a different emotion compared to the beginning. We see this when Holden sat on the bench while watching his sister Phoebe go around and around the carousel. The setting of the carousel made me feel depressed because at this moment Holden decided not to ride the carousel with Phoebe, which symbolizes that he accepted the responsibility of maturity. Only the grown-ups gazed at the children who rode on the horses as if they were thinking about their own childhood in the past.

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I can relate to Holden because he and I struggled when growing up. In the novel, Holden wanted to remain as innocent as the ducks in the wagons because he did not want to enter the adult world. When Phoebe asked his brother what he wants to be when he grows up, he replied that he wants to be the catcher in the rye, someone who saves children from falling off the cliff. I always remember his unique response because it stood out to me that he wanted to be a hero. When others ask me what I want to do in the future, I have no clues, unlike Holden who at least knows what he would like to become even though it does not exist in the real world.

Another concept that I can relate to Holden is that we both have siblings that we love so much. Holden lost his younger brother Allie when he was in high school. He had a close relationship with Allie since he carried Allie’s baseball mitt wherever he goes. Holden also loved Phoebe as he does with Allie. When I read the novel, I always think about my sister who is around the same age as Phoebe. Just like how Holden protected Phoebe from his perception of the dangerous real world, I always act like a shield protecting my sister from getting hurt.

Throughout this novel, I enjoyed how Salinger described the Museum of Natural History in his novel. The museum was a fantasy place where nothing ever changes. It represented the preservation of childhood memories. I would like to live in Holden’s perspective of the world. I believe I can do so if I can gain the opportunity to visit the historical museums in the city of Philadelphia.

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Critical Essay on ‘Catcher in The Rye’: Childhood Vs Adulthood.
(2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 15, 2023, from

“Critical Essay on ‘Catcher in The Rye’: Childhood Vs Adulthood.” Edubirdie, 17 Aug. 2023,

Critical Essay on ‘Catcher in The Rye’: Childhood Vs Adulthood. [online].
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Critical Essay on ‘Catcher in The Rye’: Childhood Vs Adulthood [Internet]. Edubirdie.
2023 Aug 17 [cited 2023 Oct 15].
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