The Catcher in the Rye Questions and Answers
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye book cover
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Why does Holden like the museum in The Catcher in the Rye?

Holden likes the museum because nothing ever changes inside the glass cases, and the exhibits remain the same throughout the years. Holden's feelings about the museum reflect his fondness for the past and reveal his desire to remain an adolescent. Holden's biggest fear is growing up, and the museum represents his untainted childhood, which he desperately clings to throughout the story.

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Holden Caulfield has experienced several traumatic events as an adolescent, and throughout the novel, he struggles to cope with his difficult feelings. Holden is particularly afraid of growing up and becoming an adult. He views every adult as a "phony" and desperately desires to remain an adolescent. Holden's fear of the future enhances his fondness for the past, and he reminisces about his pleasant experiences as a child visiting the Museum of Natural History. As Holden remembers his enjoyable childhood experiences at the museum, he says,

The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was.

Holden's comments reveal his attachment to the past, which is connected to his relationship with his deceased brother, Allie . Holden has never properly coped with Allie's death and struggles to move on with his life. His fondness for the past is directly associated with his feelings for his younger brother and fear of entering the adult world. Holden expresses...

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