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The Pain of Growing Up

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by

James Britton

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of The Pain of Growing Up

An Explanation
Growing pains are defined as emotional difficulties that occur during adolescence. For Holden Caulfield, this couldn’t hold more truth.
Holden needs to face the truths of growing up – death, for the most part. After already facing his younger brother Allie’s death, he is unwilling to see other children grow up, and become closer to their fate.
He loves the Museum of Natural History. This is because the exhibits never change – something he wishes he could do. He doesn’t like the idea of major changes, and all the responsibilities that come with being an adult.
Explain how this topic is shown in the text.
- The ducks in the central park lagoon, he asks what happens to the ducks in winter when the lake freezes. What happens to them or where do they go. This displays Holden wanting to know what will happen to him when he becomes an adult and the pain of it all.
-The reference of Holden him being the Catcher in the Rye, Holden says he would just stand at the edge of a cliff watching all the children playing games in the field of rye and catching all the kids who fall over the cliff, he wants to save the kids from going into adulthood it displays his pain by wanting to stop others going into adulthood.
-The chapter when Phoebe is on the carousel and Holden is watching him, Phoebe is reaching for the golden ring that is attached to the carousel and every time she gets closer to the ring. Holden says that if she falls off there is nothing he can do about it. This means that Holden realises that growing up is painful but inevitable.
Which characters does this theme affect?
What quotes relate to this theme?
“Sex is something I just don’t understand. I swear to God I don’t”. – Chapter 9, page 56.
Holden says this because he is afraid of growing up and sex, is a part of growing up into the adulthood world and reaching a growth of maturity.

The Pain of Growing Up
The Catcher in the Rye
I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalysed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. – Chapter 5, page 34.
Holden was psychoanalyzed because he broke the windows in his garage—and not because his little brother just died. His reaction is categorized as anger—not sadness, depression or confusion. Holden did not express his true feelings with a counselor he just expressed them verbally and changed his actions later on in the novel. As Holden says when he is depressed he talks out loud to Allie.
“You wondered what the heck he was still living for. I mean he was all stooped over, a
nd
he had very terrible posture, and in class, whenever he dropped a piece of chalk at the blackboard, some guy in the first row always had to get up and pick it up and hand it to him”.
– Chapter 2, page 6.
This quote symbolises Holden’s fear of growing up because he does not want to grow up into adulthood and become like Mr Spencer.
The Ducks in the Central Park Lagoon: Holden’s curiosity about where the ducks go during the winter reveals a genuine, more youthful side to his character. For
most of the book, he sounds like a grumpy old man who is angry at the world, but his search for the
d
ucks represents the curio
si
ty of y
o
uth and a j
oyf
ul w
i
llin
g
ness
to encounter the mysteries of the world. It is a memorable moment, because Holden clearly lacks such willingness in other aspects of his life.
Holden Caulfield is the only character in the novel that is affected by the pain of growing up. Holden resents the thought of growing up and struggles to deal with the fact that it is a process everyone goes through. Holden shares with us, his thoughts about the Museum of Natural History; Holden explains the love and desire he has for the museum. He uses the museum as an example of his fear of change. He talks about visiting it when he was a child. Holden expresses that he doesn’t know how to deal with the upsetting truth of having to grow up and change his perspectives on life. Holden is stuck between two worlds, adulthood and childhood. He sees the adulthood world as phony and fake on the other hand he sees the childhood world innocent and honest. He wants life to be simple.
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