The book The Catcher in the Rye is a story of internal conflicts and the shallowness of adulthood. The main character, Holden, is struggling to maintain his strong voice of innocence in a fight only involving himself. One of the many reasons for Holden’s emotional devastation is the death of his younger brother Allie. Allie passed away three years earlier from leukemia and this of course highly affected Holden’s mental state at the time even if he didn’t know it. Salinger’s tone held the most importance of this book.
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger uses the main character Holden Caulfield to portray the loss of innocence. Holden is a teenage boy who struggles with adulthood and the innocence of being a child. Through Holden's experiences, Salinger shows that the loss of innocence can be painful and difficult, but it is also necessary for personal growth and maturity. Holden's journey towards loss of innocence is shown by several events, such as his expulsion from Pencey Prep School and his roams in New York City. Holden's expulsion from Pencey is a turning point in the novel, as it marks the beginning of his realization that he can no longer hold on to the innocence of childhood.
Everyone is born innocent, but for one reason or another, people lose it. It’s an inevitable fact that everyone has to grow up, which Holden Caulfield learns throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. One can’t stop or prevent someone from growing up because through life experience innocence gets lost. In this novel there is, the loss of innocence, Holden trying to prevent the loss of innocence, as well as the acceptance that it is all a part of life.
Because the loss of innocence reveals society’s realities, recognizing innocence is to value ignorance. Holden is afraid that if he loses his innocence, he wouldn’t be any different from all the “phony” adults in the world. In the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Salinger shows the thematic idea of how the desire to protect innocence can result from one’s own loss of innocence. Holden uses his red hunting hat as a protective shield around him, the idea of having sexual intercourse with a prostitute, and the graffiti written on the walls of the elementary school. Starting off, Holden has a very strong bond with his red hunting hat because he finds the hat as a sense of comfort and innocence.
Holden’s unusual fantasy metaphorically displays this desire to save children’s innocence on his quest, and literally displays his obsession with death and preventing it, as being the catcher in the rye would accomplish both goals. F. Literary Critics also note that Holden’s catcher in the rye job is a dream of his that he pretends to be a reality to hide the fact that he secretly knows that he is unable to save the innocence of all children. G. Authors James E. Miller jr, and Arthur Heiserman explicitly state that, “Holden delights in circles – a comforting bounded figure which yet connotes hopelessness” (Miller, Heiserman 496). H. The “comforting bounded figure” is Holden’s catcher fantasy that he literally uses to comfort himself against the reality he refuses to believe because it “connotes hopelessness” and he is still too innocent and naïve to accept that. I. Holden possesses this dream as a weak attempt to save the innocence of children and to avoid a hopeless reality of defeat he has yet to accept.
To Holden, children are the greatest symbol of purity, a purity that he wants to preserve before they “fall off the cliff” of adulthood. Holden is fixated on the idea of being a savior. This tendency has most likely developed after the death of his younger brother Allie who will be forever fixed in a state of childhood. It is no wonder Holden sees himself as a savior of children, or simply the catcher in the rye, “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around-nobody big, I mean-except me.
Holden is the “Catcher in the Rye” to catch the children from falling off a cliff, which signifies the loss of their innocence. He didn’t want to become an adolescent, he wants to defend other children, so that they don’t lose their innocence. Also, if Holden was an actual person he would be able to fit at any high school today. For example, when Holden says “I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff … mean, if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.
Shouldn’t someone who acts tough and often brags know that they will never become a phony? The answer would be yes if Holden wasn’t so insecure. Holden’s childish ways cause him to never mature and figure out who he is as a person. We see many signs of Holden insecurities throughout the book, like the fact that he contradicts himself. An example of this would be when Sally and Holden are in the taxi and he tells her he loves her, he then counties to say, “It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it” (Salinger 139).
Meanwhile, in “The Catcher In The Rye”, Holden states clearly at the very beginning that “I’m not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy” ( The Catcher In The Rye, 1), meaning that Holden is only going
Holden feels helpless and alone. In summary, Allie’s death plays a large role in forming Holden’s personality. He tries to graze over the subject without much emotion because Allie’s death was sudden and tragic, and he has been unable to seek support for most of his
Along with the many people he meets during his journey home, Holden goes to see a girl named Sally. He tells Sally he loves her as a lie, just to prove to himself he can be crazy. Holden is lying to someone he could have a real relationship with, but ruins it. Holden says to Sally, “Then, just to show you how crazy I am, when we were coming out of this big clinch, I told her I loved her and all. It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it.
The novel The Catcher in the Rye in which we read for English was powerful. This novel was not any type of book it had much in detail and interesting things that got told. You might at the beginning think that the book is not that good and just go based off of the first chapter. Do not judge a book by it’s cover instead in this case the saying would be known as do not judge a book by the first chapter. You need to be able to read the whole novel in order to understand what happens in it and how the story is being told.
Society as a whole is something you make of it. If one wants to denounce the society they live in because it is “phony” that is because they’ve made the world around them phony. The character of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye is a prime example of someone being stuck in the idea that society is unchanging. Society is just how a person perceives the world in front of them. The eye of the beholder is the one that creates the society of their choice.
From the outset, I have to say that “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger has been one of the most important and influential pieces of literature I have ever read. At its core, the book is a superb coming of age novel which discusses several extremely powerful themes such as the difficulties of growing up, teenage angst and alienation and the superficiality, hypocrisy and pretension of the adult world. These themes resonated deeply with me and were portrayed excellently through the use of powerful symbolism and the creation of highly relatable and likable characters. One such character is Holden Caulfield whom the story both revolves around and is narrated by.
Usually considered a controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger can often express the feelings of being an outcast and the desire to find a meaning in the world. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the novel, though often complains of the phoniness of the world around him, has a way of creating a deeper meaning within the readers. While the truth may be that Salinger purposely set the story in such a way that the readers will be able to connect with Holden, not often do readers find it easy to do so. While Holden believes that everything around him are wicked and phony, there is part of him trying to protect the innocence of those not corrupted by such phoniness. Although Holden wants to protect and save the innocence of children, can he really do so if cannot protect himself and trust those around him.