Teenage Delinquency

I know teenage delinquency to be a rebellion from teenagers post WWII. It was a time in the 1950's where teenagers didn't want to follow rules or get told what to do and what not to do. Not all teenagers were delinquents but many were. It turned out to be more of a stereotype in that era that all teens were bad news, this needed change. They did things like bash older people or people that they did not for goods and money, they dropped out of school, put no effort in school, vandalized property, did not respect elders, smoked under age, drank under age, stayed out past curfew and more rebellious things to disturb the community and make their presence known. Towards the mid to late 1950's though there was to be change, the wider community really started to cramp down the bad behavior and everybody was now aware and expecting it which was obviously causing more troubles in the present time but in the end it fixed itself up. There are still though many delinquents in this day and age but it is simply not a changing thing, it is under control for the broader community and is not likely one person will start a big rebellion resulting in teenagers going completely off the rails once again.

An element that highlights teenage delinquency in the 1950's is expressed through the plot. An example of this is where Stradlater, who is Holden Caulfield's roommate, asked a girl out for the night with him and did not know her name. This shows that teenagers are expected to be with someone and it is normal for them to be out at night which also heaps the pressure on the teenagers, if you are not out at night as a teenage you do not fit in. JD Salinger challenges this element throughout the book as Holden Caulfield by asking questions about it as different characters in the book making it look and seem like the people asking the questions are right and the person answering the questions are wrong and that they are being peer pressured into going out just because as a teenager you have to go out to fit in with the crowd and trend of teenage delinquency. An example is throughout the text Holden asks and challenges Stradlater saying ' "What's her name?" I was pretty interested. "I'm thinking . . . Uh. Jean Gallagher." Boy, I nearly dropped dead when he said that. "Jane Gallagher," I said.'  This is saying that JD Salinger thinks that there is no point to be seen with someone just for the sake of it even when you do not even know the ladies name which is most important and really disrespectful to the women.  I believe JD Salinger is challenging this cultural assumption in the book because he is someone who wants teenage delinquency to change which in context of the 1950's culture is right because Americans wanted change for their community.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Hi Lochy,

This is a good description of teenage delinquency, however, I feel you are taking on board the delinquent language since you are not really using formal language...this is OK for a blog but you need to make sure you are writing formally when it comes to the assessment task.

When you introduce the example, I get confused whilst reading your explanation...I'm not sure if you were confused writing it but it might be a good idea to ensure you are clear on WHAT it is you are explaining. In short teenagers have peer pressure placed on them and it is an expectation from their peers that they need to be 'seen' with others. J.D Salinger goes on to challenge the idea of having to be seen with someone for the sake of it through Caulfield. Caulfield challenges Stradlater and tells him he is a moron for only wanting to be with a girl for his own benefit rather than being with her to know her and her name. Thus, Salinger is questioning why teenagers feel the need to be so disconnected from relationships.