Adolescents in the Catcher in the Rye

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Bad decisions, phoniness, and depression all relate back to the fact that children are getting stripped of their innocence and pushed into adulthood. The concept of losing innocence is one that J.D. Salingerr's Catcher in the Rye really digs into. One of the reasons that The Catcher in the Rye is such a classic is because it really pushed the boundaries and made many bold, unapologetic claims about society and the human condition. Society pressures vulnerable youth to adapt to the status quo in transitioning into adulthood by creating fear of straying from societal norms. Teens that are pushed into adulthood too early are more likely to make poor decisions that will affect them in the future. The developmental task for adolescents is the creation of their individual identities and the initiation of the roles that affect the rest if their lives. This quote demonstrates that the period of adolescence is responsible for not only the development of one's individual identity, but important for society. Therefore, it is important to understand the significance of young people for the growth and well being of the global population. Though teens are important for the future of humanity, pushing them into adulthood too early can lead to long term consequences. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the part responsible for oner's thinking and decision making, while teens process information with the amygdala, which is the brainr's emotional part. But due to the fact that the frontal lobe in an a teenr's brain is not fully formed, many of the adolescents, especially Holden in Catcher in the Rye, exhibit poor decision making skills. For instance, Holden got in a fight with his roomate when it was obvious that he would lose. "All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddamn throat open." He ended up getting punched back even harder by his roomate. Some people would categorize this type of decision making as teen angst, while others would categorize this type of behavior as a side effect of depression. I personally think of Holdenr's situation as a mix of both. Similarly, many teens share his mix of depression and teen angst that makes him such a relatable character. Holden is a prime example of a teen who doesnt support the regular parth and misses his innocence. Adolescents are forces to adapt and accept the harsh realities of adulthood which leads to depression and regret. Due to the immense fear of straying from societal norms, teens are also pressured to act a certain way based on class, gender, and ethnicity. Holden felt a lot of pressure to conform to the status quo: What you should do is not be yellow at all. If youre supposed to sock somebody in the jaw and you sort of felt like doing it, you should do it. Yellow is a motif in the book that represent cowardliness and weakness. Holden is reflecting the need to be manly and not feeling so. Young boys, even today, are pressured to usually be manly and not express their emotions as much as females can. But girls have just as much or more pressure than guys do. According to a psychological research study conducted in the University of Los Angeles, there is a 2:1 ratio of female to male depression observed into adulthood. This could be because many people are forced to accept the harsh realities of human nature and oppression.
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Adolescents In The Catcher in the Rye. (2019, May 28). Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from

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