Catcher In The Rye Innocence Essay

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In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the ongoing tension between maturity and innocence helps show the simultaneous presence of youth’s purity and adulthood’s corruption in Holden’s mind. In his bildungsroman, Salinger illustrates the all necessary struggle of adolescence that strives to balance purity and corruption as Holden comes to terms with the indefinite nature growing up. In Holden 's eyes, very few people in his life are “worthy” of his respect. One example of the innocent and pure and those who receive respect from Holden are nuns. When Holden encounters most people he makes up lies and doesn 't enjoy talking to them, but with nuns it’s different, “I said I’d enjoyed talking to them a lot, too, I meant it too” (146). Holden gives the nuns money and highly respects them. You can…show more content…
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. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody...that 's the only thing I’d really like to be” (224). Holden believes his purpose is to save those who are pure and innocent before they can mature. These lines reveal the unattainable goal Holden has set for himself. Unlike his peers who may strive to become teachers or doctors, Holden describes a path in which in reality he can never pursue. In fact, his whole scheme for his future is based on a misinterpretation of a popular song. He does not understand the process of growth and
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