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Research Paper | English Language and Literature | Turkey | Volume 7 Issue 12, December 2018
Identity Confusion of Adolescents in Salingers: The Catcher in the Rye
Abstract: The narration of Holden Caufield in J. D. Salingers The Catcher in the Rye depicts the confusion and interior struggle that a vulnerable adolescent goes through as he starts a journey to explore the world of adults with very confused and resisting attitude. Holdens reaction during his exploration and observation of adult life in New York reflects the identity confusion he is experiencing and the uncertainty of what he is and what he wants to be. The purpose of this paper is to present a critical analysis of The Catcher in the Rye from a psychoanalytical perspective to examine how Salinger in this novel dramatizes Erik H. Eriksons and James E. Marcias psychoanalytic theories of adolescents identity confusion. When Holden fails to integrate with the new merging identity of adulthood as a way of preserving his own idealism, a kind of resentment is developed towards everything that represents this threatening new identity. This rejection is manifested in Holdens disgust of all the phoniness and hypocrisy he faces in the adult world and his clinging to childhood. Holdens attitude towards adults in their appearance and behavior portrays a loss of ego integration and its consequences. Salinger skillfully engages the reader in a journey through the experience of this vulnerable character, demonstrating Eriksons theory of adolescents state of crisis and portraying Marcias status of identity diffusion. Through the character of Holden, the reader explores the experience of Eriksons identity confusion and its characteristics. The four components of Eriksons identity confusion are displayed in Holdens failing to communicate as a result of avoiding intimacy and his developed sense of time diffusion between what he clings to and what he fears might happen as well as his negative identity of rejecting everything that his community expected of him and feels disgusted by everything associated with adulthood. Holden seems to be in diffusion of industry as he concentrates only on negative aspects of the adult world and emphasizes its phoniness.
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, adolescence, identity confusion, identity diffusion, intimacy, resistance, adulthood
Edition: Volume 7 Issue 12, December 2018,
Pages: 582 - 586