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J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is a typical example of the genre the Germans refer to as a Bildungsroman. This is a type of novel with a single protagonist, usually a teenager or young adult, often with some sort of artistic or literary talent, unusual intelligence, or sensitivity, who is in the process of growing into maturity or adulthood. The genre focuses not so much on internal incidents or adventures (as the picaresque) but on inner development. Salinger, as is typical, chronicles the intellectual and emotional growth of Holden Caufield, along with his burgeoning sexuality, as a process of deepening insight and maturation.
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