The Catcher In The Rye: Poem Analysis

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People have to grow up eventually. It is not a choice, but a certainty. The protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, struggles to accept this fact. He agonizes over the loss of his innocence. He is conflicted. On one side, he does not want to grow up and see the deceitful reality. On the other side, he wants to mature as a member of society. He cannot do either of these things because of his internal battle. The novel can be considered a Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel where the protagonist matures Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye expresses the hardships of growing up through the symbolism of Jane Gallagher, Allie’s baseball glove and the Catcher in the Rye poem. Holden Caulfield calls many people…show more content…
At first, Holden hears a boy singing, “ If a body catch a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.” (115) This makes him happy. The boy is singing and humming without a care in the world. He does not have to worry about anything. This poem represents Holden’s beliefs about the world. He believes that innocence should be protected. When his little sister Phoebe finds out that he got kicked out of school again and wonders why, Holden merely responds with “I’m sick of everybody asking asking me that. A million reasons why. It was one of the worst schools I ever went to.” (167) He has been kicked out of prep schools at least 3 or 4 times before. It is unlikely that all of those schools actually had a problem. Instead, it is more plausible that Holden just cannot fit in. His poor attitude is what gets him expelled. Phoebe tells him, “you don’t like anything that’s happening.” (169) It is then that Holden reveals one his his deepest wishes. He hopes that he can be the “catcher in the rye”. He imagines that thousands of thousands of children are playing in a rye field. When one of them runs of a cliff, his job is to catch them. “That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.” (173). His dearest wish is to protect the innocence of young children. Phoebe corrects him, saying that the line is actually “if a body meet a body comin’ through the rye.” Unlike Holden’s view, the song…show more content…
Allie is Holden’s dead little brother. He died of leukemia when Holden was just a child. It represents his inner feelings. He generally keeps the glove and his feelings hidden. The glove is his remembrance of Allie. Holden said that “he was [...] the nicest, in lots of ways. He never got mad at anybody.” (38) When his brother died, it greatly affected his psyche. He does not think it was fair for his brother to die so young. He “broke all of the goddam windows, just for the hell of it” because of the immense pain he was feeling. (39) He hides his grief behind a mask of cynicism and lies. He calls himself “the most terrific liar you ever saw in you life.” (16) This onlys serves to make him twisted and judgemental. He criticizes everything, even saying “except for a few pimpy-looking guys, and a few whory-looking blondes, the lobby was pretty empty.” (69) He does not even know these people, and he is judging them anyways. He has an incredible insight into the human mind, and it is this understanding that lets him see some people for who the really are. However, that does not mean he knows everything. He sees the world only through his cynical view. His troubled and grieved mind leads him to assume that everyone is out to get him. Carl Luce, a senior from when he went to Elkton Hills, told him that he needed to go to see a psychoanalyst. Holden can not keep bottling up his grief. After an excursion with Phoebe, he is set free of

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