How is Holden in conflict with the adult world?How is he in conflict with the adult world?

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amerie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden is conflicted in a number of ways, but his complete lack of communication is his primary conflict with the adult world.  He doesn't talk to his parents, he barely listens to his teachers (even the ones he likes), and he is prolific liar.  He is on the cusp on growing up/becoming an adult, but he is terrified of becoming like the adults he knows.  He thinks all adults are hypocrites, and all children are innocent, so what he wants more than anything is to protect children from becoming corrupted by the world.  It's not until the very end of the novel that he realizes his wish is impossible; he can't protect children from growing up.  They (like him) have to grow up and face the harsh realities of life eventually.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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