Many Segal, Ph.D., Helpguide.org, 1). Holden’s sudden mood swings

Many people experience change throughout their lives and grow as they become adults. They slowly develop as people through the hardships and problems they experience by learning how to manage them. In J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, runs away from Pency Prep to New York City. New York City is where he encounters numerous adult situations and he tries to manage them. Also, in Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the protagonist, Christopher Boone, deals with several family and communication problems and then he learns to cope with them as well. Some people argue that there is no character change seen or understood for Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye and for Christopher Boone in Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. However, both protagonists, Holden Caulfield and Christopher Boone, have developed by the end of both novels. Both teenagers also demonstrate how even if people have issues, they can still achieve what they want through perseverance and hope. Several people claim that Holden Caulfield has not changed as a character. Holden might sound a bit depressed in the end when he thinks “… but I got soaked anyways. I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden…” (Salinger, 213). He may have “a switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy,” but he is not very depressed as he is the beginning of the book. (Doctor Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Helpguide.org, 1). Holden’s sudden mood swings may show symptoms of depression, but the feelings that Holden is acquiring are positive feelings. These feelings represent his optimism at the moment. His optimism will lead to the good decisions and choices that he will make in the future. If Holden were to be depressed in this moment, then his mood would swing back to sadness. Nevertheless, Holden’s optimism extends all the way towards the end of the book. Some people also believe that Christopher Boone’s character has not altered throughout The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time because he has autism. He may act like a little child at some points. For example, when Christopher’s father is speaking to him, he pleads for Christopher to respond or just simply “say something,” but Christopher “still didn’t say anything.” (Haddon, 215). Even if a person has autism, other characteristics of the person can be gained, lost, or altered. Christopher has autism, but that does not stop him from advancing to become a better person. Besides autism, Christopher confronts various challenges and he gains character traits of bravery, adamancy, and self-reliance. Christopher may not arise in some areas, but he certainly develops in other aspects immensely. Additionally, Holden changes because in the beginning Holden is always secluding himself from the people around him as he refrains from developing social bonds. For example, Holden refuses to meet Jane Gallagher while she waits for Stradlater, despite desperately wanting to meet her, “… I oughta go down and say hello to her Jane… but I’m not in the mood right now…” (Salinger, 32-33). Here, Holden’s comment justifies how depression is a driving factor that contributes to his incompetence when forming relationships with the people around him, which reveals his insecurities; his insecurities do not allow Holden to converse or communicate thoroughly with the prominent people in his life. Holden is hesitant towards sustaining relationships with others and evades social interaction due to fear of neglection. Holden’s fear of being disregarded and ignored is the root of his inability to augment bonds, which influences Holden to isolate himself from society. Holden relies on his solitude to preserve his detachment with the world and reaches the height of self-protection. He believes that impeding and demolishing his own chances and attempts to communicate with others will terminate his loneliness. Therefore, his inaptitude to build relationships diminishes his true thoughts and identity, which causes Holden to collapse into his depressive state. His frustration and pessimism influences Holden to believe that it is impossible for him to connect with anyone on an emotional and personal level. Holden is not able to express his emotions adequately, and he accumulates and harbours feelings of loneliness, which stimulates his depressive state. Likewise, throughout Mark Haddon’s coming-of-age novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the protagonist, Christopher Boone struggles to become independent. Since Christopher has behaviour problems, (which are similar to Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder) this thwarts his path to gaining independence. For example, in the beginning of the story, Christopher describes a memory from when he was little that shows how he feels very uncomfortable when standing in crowds of people, “… there were too many people in the John Lewis Shopping Centre and I was frightened and I laid down on the floor next to the wristwatches and I screamed…” (Haddon, 106). This accentuates how autism severely limits Christopher’s ability to empathize and interact with the people and world around him. He is incapable of recognizing other people’s facial expressions and inferring other people’s thoughts and emotional reactions; this forces Christopher to say and do inappropriate things and feel very confused when communicating with others. This is why Christopher eludes collaborating with unfamiliar people and obtains overwhelming fears of socially interacting with people, preferring to keep his world accommodated and amenable.Holden Caulfield and Christopher Boone are both sensitive characters who believe that running away from their issues is the best way to deal with their problems. In the article, “Communicating to Solve Problems,” the Office of the Human Resources Directory in Minnesota states, “Vital to solving the problem is communication, which involves a process of identifying problems, seeking alternatives… and implementing a solution… it focuses on the present and the future towards improving work and relationships…” (Regents of the University of Minnesota, Office of Human Resources Directory). One major way problems are resolved are through compromising and negotiating. These things cannot be done without conversing and connecting with other people. Holden and Christopher avoid communication and interaction in order to feel better about themselves. They believe that avoiding their problems is a better solution than facing them. However, facing their problems is actually the better solution. In addition, communication alleviates anger and surfaces issues. For example, when Christopher finds out that his father has been keeping secrets about Christopher’s mother from him for the past fifteen years, Christopher starts to break down and loses his trust with his father. Christopher describes how his father feels about this as Christopher explains, “… he was crying because his breath sounded all bubbly and wet, like it does when someone has a cold…” (Haddon, 114). If his father mentioned these things about his family to Christopher earlier in his life, then they probably would not have serious issues. Since his father did not tell him before, their relationship disintegrates and their bond deteriorates through the rest of the book. Communication can also deepen relationships. For example, when Holden visits his previous English teacher, Mr. Antolini gives Holden some advice and helps Holden decipher some crucial things in life that Holden has to accept. Mr. Antolini tells Holden, “… the educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world… And — most important — nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker.” (Salinger, 189-190). Mr. Antolini shares some of his morals and beliefs with Holden to portray the appearance and future of “educated and scholarly men.” The interaction between Holden and Mr. Antolini strengthens their relationship. Relationships cannot “thrive when there is no communication.” (Dane Thompson, 2). Without communication, Holden probably would not have comprehended the significance of their conversation. Not only does communication fortify their relationship, but it also makes Holden notice and understand the faults that he has made throughout his life. Holden acknowledges the prominence of their conversation by eventually realizing the mistakes that he was making this whole time. At the end of the book, Holden articulates, “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them.” (Salinger, 211). Here, Holden’s thoughts are the complete opposite of his ineffective and pointless attempt to preserve the children’s innocence in the world. His first aim from the beginning of the book is to be the catcher in the rye, which is his desire, at first, to prevent children from falling. As the novel progresses, Holden realizes kids have to fall. It is futile for Holden to try to stop them because there will be a time in every kid’s life where he/she will step into the transformation from childhood and towards adulthood; he/she will be exposed to various aspects of the adulthood and he/she will not be a kid anymore. Children will have to grow up to be maintained and ready to face the complications and intricacy of the adult world. They will also have to learn to face their challenges on their own. Before, Holden, himself, is unable to adjust to the circle of life because he avoids the transition into adulthood, but now he understands what is important. Also, it is very clear that Holden has changed and this is recognized through the media greatly. BBC News Magazine states, “It was never written for a teenage audience, it was written for adult readers.” (Finlo Rohrer, 2). The protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye is a teenager, yet Rohrer says this book is written for adult readers. This novel is for adults to interpret how this troubled teenager, Holden, learns what it means to become an adult. Rohrer recommends this book to the adult readers because The Catcher in the Rye portrays the development of a teenager into adulthood tremendously and it also conveys the change in perspectives from a teenager to an adult. Furthermore, throughout this novel, Holden is also trying to enter the stage of adulthood himself. Holden is standing “on the edge of the cliff” this whole time and he then finally falls off the cliff into adulthood. New York City represents the bottom of the cliff, which is where Holden encounters all the unfairness, the dark and gloomy feelings, and the corruption in his life. There are several parts in the book that foreshadow how Holden is “falling” while he is walking to places. For example, Holden slips on ice while walking to Mr. Spencer’s house. (Salinger, 7). Later on, he slips on peanut shells when he is walking down the stairs as he is leaving Pency Prep. (Salinger, 52). Also, when Holden is walking to answer the door for Sunny, he stumbles over his suitcase. (Salinger, 93). The fact that he keeps falling throughout the novel is a recurring symbol that makes Holden commence to realize that he cannot stop growing up and he cannot stop others from growing up as well; he will eventually fall off too. NPR Books writes, “He’s afraid of growing up… He’s terrified of change.” (NPR, 3). Here, NPR Books delineate how Holden is in the beginning. He disfavored and disliked change at first and then Holden matures to learn to accept his grief, his pain, and most importantly, he learns to accept his place in the world. He also finds his identity, and his maturity escalates over the course of the book. He learns responsibility and his perspective from the adult point of view changes. His character and personality also evolves in many ways and he realizes that he needs to face his problems instead of running away from them like a little child. Similarly, as Christopher overcomes numerous obstacles, he gains confidence in his abilities and gradually becomes more self-sufficient. Christopher is always fantasizing about doing whatever he likes and taking care of himself in his recurring dreams of being one of the few people left on Earth. He elucidates, “… and I make some strawberry milk shake for a drink, and then I watch a video about the solar system and I play some computer games and I go to bed.” (Haddon, 200). This explicates how Christopher is constantly dreaming about desiring to live on his own. His dreams depict his determination to accomplish becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant. Another way Christopher expresses his yearning for independence is when he unexpectedly shows up at his Mother’s house in London, after not seeing her for two years. When he finally sees her, he tells her, “You weren’t in, so I waited for you.” (Haddon, 190). These actions of Christopher indicate how Christopher gains the confidence to assert himself. Through adamancy and obstinacy, his quest for independence is perceived when he undergoes a difficult journey from Swindon to London. This is a feat that symbolizes a pivotal triumph for him since he has never traveled by himself. At the end of the novel, Christopher feels that he has overcome his challenges; he feels that he is ready to be on his own and that he can achieve all the goals that he has set out for the future such as acquiring a First Class Honors degree and becoming a scientist.By the end of both books, both protagonists of these coming-of-age novels have grown to become independent and are able to comprehend the world from an adult perspective. Throughout both novels, Holden and Christopher are both able to cope with a series of hardships. Christopher is a boy who cherishes and values order and stability, but by the end of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, he learns that there will not always be order and stability in his life because life is not perfect. If life is only about order and stability, then the absence of conflicts would be present. If this were to be the case, no one would ever learn how to solve their own problems and they will never know what to do when they encounter chaos. Moreover, by the end of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden learns that isolation is not the solution when he cannot handle or manage a problem; isolation will only worsen the problem and it will expand his state of loneliness. Without the characteristics that they gain by the end of the book, they will never be able to contend with difficult situations and conflicts. Although some people believe readers cannot discern any character change among Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye and among Christopher Boone in Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, both protagonists, Holden Caulfield and Christopher Boone, have progressed over the course of both novels. They both also convey how even if people have problems, they can still accomplish what they wish for through persistence and diligence. Holden and Christopher have faced various challenges in their lives, and this is what has pushed them to become better people. Without determination and hope, Holden and Christopher would not be standing in the positions that they are at the end of both novels.

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