Why the coming-of-age narrative is a conformist lie
Near the end of J D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951), the novel’s hero Holden Caulfield buys his sister Phoebe a ticket to the carousel in the park and watches her ride it. It begins to rain, and Holden – having spent most of the book in some form of anxiety, disgust or depression – now nearly cries with joy. ‘I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around...