The Catcher in the Rye

Holden's immaturity

This isn't really a question, just something I've always wondered about. If Holden is so desperate to "hold on", so to speak, his own innocence and the innocence of others, why does he always try to do "adult", or mature things? (Have sex with a prostitute, swear constantly, etc.)

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This is a good observation. I think that Holden is stuck between teenage angst, some clinical depression and his own intellect. Holden is able to see the hypocrisy of the world yet doesn't have the maturity to put it all in perspective. He is still an adolescent caught in his raging hormones and teenage malaise. Holden is looking for outlets for his angst while trying to comprehend truth and honesty. Holden doesn't yet have the maturity to understand the many shades of wrong and right that makes us all so human and so fallible. Holden is a budding existentialist caught in the body of a teenager.


No offense intended, but your response just made me more confused.

I agree with the "many shades of wrong and right that makes us all so human and so fallible" thing, though. That's one thing I hate about Holden - he's always boxing people away into labels.Yet at the same time he's very sympathetic. He's one weird little kid, that's for sure.

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse you. My main meaning is that Holden sees things (phoniness, Hypocrisy) that comes to many people much later in life. The problem is that he is still filled with teenage angst, chip on his shoulder, and hormones which make Holden a hypocrite himself and prevents him from being mature.