Theme Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

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Many people harbour a desire to accomplish something specific in life. Sometimes this desire stems from the background of a person, and sometimes desires are developed over time and with age. “The Catcher in the Rye” narrated by Holden Caulfield, who is an overly disturbed teenager, is about the change from childhood to adulthood. Holden, like many, has a burning desire to protect the innocence of children; this desire is tied to the themes of relationships, intimacy and sexuality which are carried throughout the novel. In a stroke of genius, the author, J.D. Salinger, sums up this desire in the title, which is taken from a poem by Robert Burns: Comin ' thro ' the Rye ( 1796).

As the title emphasizes, the theme that dominates throughout the novel is the protection of innocence. Holden is obsessed with the innocence of children in particular and this highlights his struggle against growing into adulthood. Innocence, in Holden’s eyes, is the experience of childhood without the intrusion of the adult world. He feels that a child’s innocence is the good qualities that he/she possesses as a child. Holden wishes that people could keep their good qualities by “sticking them into glass cases and leaving them alone.” (Chapter16). While he realises that this is just a fantasy, it does not stop him from wanting to protect the children from falling into the emotional and mental distress of personality changes that occur in the journey from childhood to adulthood. This ties into the
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