Teenage Angst essay

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The writer perfectly exposed the issue of the teenage feeling of intense apprehension as well as the inner turmoil. This was perfectly done to the extent that the novel earned the title of the best novel ever to deal with teenage issues. These were marked by his “phoniness” as he sought to find his footing in the adult society as well as trying to be seen as a respectful teenager. Ideally, all the characters, created by Mr. Salinger, have an equal measure of challenges in prep school. In as much as they may be able to afford their tuition fees, they end up experiencing a larger than expected share of teenage angst. Essentially, this is why occurrences like suicide, nervous breakdowns as well as loss of faith span the entire storyline (Salinger, 1951).

As a matter of fact, to a 16 year old guy, receiving medication in a mental hospital, there is no doubt that Holden’s encounters expose him to a hell on earth. For instance, his struggle to find a social place in quite an ugly world proves a challenge to a boy his age. This coupled with urban sleaze portray the teenager as a perfect example of self contradictions that make of a teenage life. However, the writer later on gave an impression that some hope could somehow come Holden’s way, in spite of the struggle he had had to contend with. In fact, by the end of the novel Holden came to see that the world may not be that bad after all and that there still are some reasons to grow up as responsible individual (Salinger, 1951).

Identity and Alienation

The story depicts of Holden’s struggle with identity and a sense of belonging. For instance, when Holden opts not to be part of the football game that the whole school intends to be part of, it becomes clear that he lacks a sense of belonging to the larger social setting. However, it appears unique that his little sense of belonging serves him right in as much as it harms him. It serves him right in that he avoids the type of company that would easily cause him rejection or the type of emotional pain that he underwent, when Allie passed on. On the other hand, it harms his social wellbeing, when he develops a character of intense loneliness and depression. This makes him attempt to reach out to Mr. Spencer, something that does not go as far. Due to his inner fears of social interaction, he ends up insulting the new comrades, making them become angry at him. Indeed, it becomes a complex cycle of self destruction that the teenagers find themselves. First, the fear of interacting with other people leaves them alienated people, and this causes loneliness, which makes them attempt to reach out to other people. Eventually this invokes their fears of social interactions, making them insult the very people they wish to keep them company. In the end, they remain as lonely and alienated as ever before (Salinger, 1951).


The depth, with which the novel discusses issues to do with teenage life, is quite profound. The writer puts himself in the shoes of an adolescent, wears the mind of a teenage and perfectly incorporates the language of a maturing young adult. This makes the reader perfectly identify with the novel in entirety as something that does not just talk about life but one, which touches on their own lives. As such, the passage of time has seen the novel translated to almost all the major languages in the world.

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