As we journey through life, we are expected to encounter some turbulence. We experience the best and worst times in our lives. We all fall into an abyss, but somehow we find our way back up. J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, portrays the life of a teenager, Holden Caulfield, and the conflicts he has to face. Holden Caulfield is struggling between childhood and adulthood. He often finds himself fighting the biological clock, which will eventually result in old age and death. He acts like a child in order to stay away from adulthood. His childish character also gives him the "romantic" mind which is blocking him from the realism in the society he lives in. The two most dominating conflicts for Holden are innocence and experience. Holden believes he has to protect a child's innocence to prevent them from becoming experienced and exposed to the adult world. As Holden faces these conflicts he is also trying to find himself as he tried to solve his confusion with sex and death. Along the road, wise advisors will come to aid Holden in his struggle and confusion with life. .
Holden is 16 years old, but sometimes acts like a 12 year old. Holden is struggling to hold on to his childhood. His body is desperately telling him to move on. He despises the compromises, loss of innocence, absence of integrity, and the loss of authenticity in the grown-up world. His flaws and personal habits reveal the child inside him. He is irresponsible and has a bad habit of smoking. Holden often tells lies which reveal how immature he is. The first example of this is when he introduces himself to Mrs. Morrow as Rudolf Schmidt, using the name of his dorm's janitor. Other childlike characteristics of Holden are his carelessness to do well in school. When he leaves Pencey and wanders the city, he is not nearly has independent as he pretends to be. Physically and mentally he is caught on the border between childhood and adulthood.