Loss Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

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In literature, loss of innocence refers to an adolescent character who experiences an event that leads to a greater awareness of pain and suffering which profoundly reshapes their life. The loss of a loved one at a young age can cause disruption and irreparable damage to the innocent mind. After a tragedy of losing a loved one, the naïve mind is ill-equipped to deal with the loss, which can cause it to spiral out of control. Esther and Holden are two fictional characters who are both unfortunate enough to experience this trauma during their adolescence and both suffer the negative mental consequences. Throughout The Bell Jar and The Catcher in the Rye, Plath and Salinger use their protagonists’ to demonstrate the motif of loss of innocence, caused by tragic events in their youth, to teach the reader that buried childhood trauma can have a negative impact on mental health. In The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger describes Holden’s struggles while growing up after the devastating death of his brother at a young age, to demonstrate the…show more content…
Esther experiences many alarming events in her life, however, the most impactful event is the death of her father. Esther is staying in New York for a month and working as a summer intern for a fashion magazine. During her stay, Constantin, a UN interpreter, invites her to lunch at the UN. During the drive in his convertible, she has a moment of peace and recognizes that, “I felt happier than I had been since I was about nine and running along the hot white beaches with my father the summer before he died” (Plath 74). Since her father’s death, Esther lives in a state of sorrow, however, and at this particular moment, she finally feels a glimpse of happiness. When her father was alive, Esther had a positive male figure in her life and was a happy child, but when he died, loneliness and unhappiness set in. Esther feels the pain and agony of the death of her father, which results in depression and causes her life to spiral out of
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