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The Maturity of Holden Caulfield

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Ryan Clifford

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of The Maturity of Holden Caulfield

The Maturity of Holden Caulfield
Rudolph Schmidt (pages 74-75)
"Would you care for a cocktail?" I asked her. I was feeling in the mood for one myself. "We can go in the club car. All right?" "Dear, are you allowed to order drinks?" she asked me. Not snotty, though. She was too charming and all to be snotty. "Well, no, not exactly, but I can usually get them on account of my heighth," I said. "And I have quite a bit of grey hair. It fascinated the hell out of her. "I really don't think I'd better. "Thank you so much, though, dear."

Holden really does believe that he appears to be older than he actually is. He believes that because of his grey hair and his height, that people thinks that he is older than 21.
Holden is also very immature for his age, especially at this point in the book.
Holden feels conflicted between the two extremes of immaturity and innocence, and maturity and adult privileges.
Scotch and Soda
"I ordered a scotch and soda, and told them no to mix it- I said it fast as hell, because if you hem and haw, they think you're under twenty-one and won't sell you any intoxicating liquor. I had trouble with him anyway, though. "I'm sorry, sir," he said, "but do you have some verification of your age? Your drivers license, perhaps?" I gave him This very cold stare, like he'd insulted the hell out of me, and asked him, "Do I look like I'm under 21?" (pg. 91)

-Holden thinks keeps thinking that people think that he is older than 21

-No matter how many times people will question his age, Holden will always assume that they think he is 21
The Dancers
-"I let it drop. It was all over her head, anyway. "Do you feel like jitterbugging a little bit, if they play a fast one?" Not corny jitterbug, not jump or anything, just nice and easy." Everybody'll sit down when they play a fast one, except the old guys and the fat guys, and will have plenty of room.""she said. "It's immaterial to me," she said. "Hey, how old are you, anyhow?" That annoyed me, for some reason. "Oh, Christ. Don't spoil it," I said. "I'm 12, for chrissake. I'm big for my age." (pg. 95)

-Holden gets mad that people question his age
-However, Holden really shouldn't be dancing with older women at a nightclub at his age.
Ducks and a Taxi
-"Besides, he was such a touchy guy, and it wasn't any pleasure discussing anything with him. "Would you care to stop off and have a drink with me somewhere?" He didn't answer me, though. I guess he was still thinking. He was a pretty good guy. Quite amusing and all. "I ain't got no time for liquor, bud, "he said. "How the hell old are you, anyways? Why ain't you home in bed?" "I'm not tired." (pg. 109)

-Holden just wants to have drinks and make adult choices so desperately, that he is offering to drink with complete strangers.

-Holden doesn't even really like the taxi cab driver, so it is strange that he would offer to drink with him.

-Since Holden is making such stupid decisions, it is quite clear that he is not ready to have these adult privileges.
Jim Steele and the prostitute
-"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Steele," I said. "Ya got to watch on ya?" She said. She didn't care what the hell my name was, naturally. "Hey, how old are you, anyways?" "Me? Twenty-two." "Like fun you are." (pg. 123)

-Once again, somebody doesn't believe Holden's age

-However, this time, Holden does not argue and from that point on does not want to have sex with the prostitute.

-Holden has made another kind of adult decision, that he was not ready for.
Full transcript