An inner journey can sometimes be embarked upon as an escape from problems, however the journey itself can sometimes provide more problems, which helps one grow as a person, whilst the arrival provides the solution to the problems which does not help one grow at all. J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye not only demonstrates physical journeys but inner and emotional journeys. Salinger’s character, Holden embarks on obvious journeys, such as, his expulsion from Pencey and his odyssey to New York City. There is also the emotional journey of his inner maturation, due to mentally damaging events from many different adults in the novel. And there is finally, the symbol of innocence within his younger sister that forces Holden to mature within.
Firstly, Holden’s immaturity, which is ultimately the reason for his expulsion from Pencey, is essentially the primary cause of Holden’s journey to New York. He fails to see truth within society and vows to find it by going to New York. He sees everybody as either a liar or a phony, and attempts to find some truth and realness. Salinger writes Holden stating, many times, that almost everyone in society is a phony. Through these quotes, the reader can gather that Holden is definitely in need of an emotional journey.
Holden’s also embarks on an emotional journey, which has an obvious profound effect on the reader. Holden has discomfort within himself and his own weakness, phoniness and superficiality: he feels stuck between adulthood and childhood. In the quote, ‘sometimes I feel like I’m disappearing’, Salinger writes that Holden is growing up, although because he resents all authority figures, he does not want to accept this. After his teacher makes a homosexual pass on him, he sees all adults in a cynical light, although, through Salinger’s use of contrast, Holden makes many statements that are cynical and pessimistic, which underscores his close-mindedness.