"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

Essay by jber1211High School, 12th gradeA+, February 2006

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The Novel "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger is thought to be a controversial book by many, but at the same time has appealed to a countless number of readers in the past fifty years. Holden Caulfield, the narrator and protagonist of the story, brings the reader to experience the world through his eyes. Although Holden is extremely cynical and judgmental of nearly everything and everyone, there is much value in what he has to say. Holden forces the reader to see the world in a different light. He expresses and evokes various issues, themes, and emotions that are associated with growing up.

One aspect that occurs constantly throughout the course of the book is the idea of change. Holden is in the middle of dealing with the stresses that accompany the transformation from childhood into adulthood. Adolescence is a difficult and awkward time for everyone, but Holden does not want to surpass it.

He does not want to enter the "phony" world of adulthood. Since Holden is afraid to face change, he finds much comfort in the Museum of Natural History. He refers to the museum numerous times throughout the book and it becomes clear that it is a comfort zone for Holden. "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move" (121). The museum represents what Holden thinks to be as an ideal world. It is a simple world that will be frozen in the same place forever and is easy to understand. Holden realizes that change is inevitable and it is impossible to avoid. Holden becomes depressed when he returns to the museum because he sees that the exhibits are still the same, but he is not the same person as he was...