Growing up and loss of innocence

One of the main themes explored by J. D. Salinger in the novel The Catcher in the Rye is growing up. The theme is mostly connected to Holden, who is caught between childhood and adulthood and feels unable to move forward in his life. 

At the time he narrates the events that happened last Christmas, Holden is seventeen-years-old, which means that he is no longer a child and not yet an adult. As he interacts with other characters in the novel, Holden mainly tends to connect with children. For example, he shows that he is close to Phoebe, his sister and that he enjoys helping the children he sees in the park or the ones that ask for his help in the Museum of Art. Whenever he interacts with children, Holden feels content and at ease. However, when he interacts with most adults, Holden feels tense and increasingly depressed. 

Holden is caught between two states and represents a paradox. Although he fears growing up, he often pretends that he is much older and uses his gray hair ...

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