Catcher In The Rye is a mere microcosm of the cognitive dissonance that one experiences when participating in the growing pains of one's psyche. The battle of; learning to let go of childhood, and deciding to accept the truly appalling responsibility that is adult life under one's own volition. This infamous book is a 2-day glance into the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Disoriented and discouraged, Holden explores New York City for the veracity of his struggles while exhibiting his underlying disdain against the “phoniness” of the adult world. The result of Holden's adolescent journey leaves him depleted and emotionally unstable. There are many things that seem to point to Holden's collapse: getting kicked out of yet another prep school, forced alienation, death of his brother, and many other self-inflicted wounds. The refusal to accept the reality of his trauma has placed Holden in a constant state of disarray. Holden is in a voluntary negative feedback loop that keeps him in this hopeless homeostatic state of " I want to grow up VS I don't want the responsibility tied with it". I credit his instability to cognitive dissonance. Which is defined as; the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. The only way to combat these negative thoughts is to worry only about the best way of moving forward.
How To Move Forward
To move forward Holden has to stop being the lead participant in his dissonance. Human beings have the capability to challenge the suffering that coincides with maturity, Holden is no exception. On the last page of the Novel, Holden comes to the realization that his struggle illuminated his capacity to hone his cognitive processes, which in turn, aid in his upward aim to adulthood. Focusing on his aim ceased his hyper fixation on the "phonies" around him. Manifesting the responsibility to care for himself and let others do as they may.