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Would you concider Holden Caulfield a mature or an inmature character?Though most of us...

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nessaholic-chu | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:56 AM via web

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Would you concider Holden Caulfield a mature or an inmature character?

Though most of us agree (I guess) that the Catcher In The Rye's main theme is growning up, the coming of age or the loss of innocence, I always asked myself this question... Is Holden a mature on an inmature person?

In my particular opinion, at first glance, Holden might be interpreted as an inmature character due to his almost constant childish behaviour during the novel. (the hunting hat, the sex questions to his friend at the bar, the lack of interest of Mr Antolini's speech, the tumour in the brain lie, etc)

However, since we have a glimpse of his mind, and we are able to read what he thinks and feels, I would say that Holden sometimes (more often than not) has very interesting and definitely profound thoughts about life, and he comes to conclusions that not any average 16-year-old teenager could make (religion, money, Jane's past, why he wants to be the Catcher In The Rye, etc)

So, I'm really interested to hear your opinion on this subject. What do you think? Would you concider Holden a mature or an inmature person?

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brenduucha | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM (Answer #1)

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In my opinion Holden is a mature guy for his age. His conclusions about life, and what really matter are the ones who count the most, more than some childish atitudes he has. 

Holden is passing from his childhood to his young adult life, his adolescence. 

The book and his inner thoughts show his loss of infancy. 

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM (Answer #2)

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Holden Caulfield shows his immaturity in many ways. The novel was given the title The Catcher in the Rye because the author intended to convey the idea that his hero was an adolescent still in the process of growing up. It is a childish notion for Holden to want to have the vocation of being a catcher in the rye, a person who stands in a field of rye wheat and catches children when they are in danger of falling off a cliff. Holden is only sixteen years old. His attempts to do things a boy that age should not be doing, such as hiring prostitutes and going to cocktail lounges, even wandering the streets of Manhattan by himself, show both his immaturity and his efforts to reach maturity. Boys his age cannot be considered mature. He might not become completely mature until he is twenty-five or even older. He is exceptional in the fact that he has a very high intelligence (which may be why he tends to call other people morons) and in being a very good writer for his age, undoubtedly due to his high IQ. But he is far from being mature, as Salinger seems to be symbolizing by having him wearing a funny hat throughout his peregrinations. Holden has been compared to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, a precocious boy but still a child. Holden, like Huck, is a sympathetic character just because he is immature and consequently always being disappointed, disillusioned, and getting himself into trouble.

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