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What Is The Loss Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

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As people grow up, sometimes they lose their innocence and become affected by the change that adulthood brings. There is a point in time between the stages of childhood and adulthood where a child loses his or hers innocence. In JD Salinger's’ Catcher in the Rye, a troubled teenager named Holden Caulfield struggles with the fact that everyone has to grow up. The book gets its title from Holden’s constant concern with the loss of innocence. He does not want children to grow up because he believes adults are corrupt. Salengers use of the museum, the graffiti in Phoebe's school, and the carousel to express that innocence cannot be protected forever. As Holden travels through New York, he visits the National History Museum. While he's there,…show more content…
As they get there, they see the carousel where Holden asks her if she wants to go for a ride. Phoebe replies that she's “too big” to go on (210). Holden immediately tells her that she's not and that she's going on. By Holden insisting that Phoebe goes on the carousel, it demonstrates his attempt to keep her young. While Phoebe is on the ride, he was “sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddamn horse” (211). He states that “if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them and…if they fall off, they fall off” (211). When Holden concludes that you just have to let a kid reach, even thought they might get hurt doing so, he’s admitting that growing up in life is indeed necessary. Ultimately, Holden accepts that there is no stopping adulthood. At the beginning of the novel, Holden believes that innocence can be preserved yet throughout the story, that thought begins to diminish. When he went to the museum, he first recognizes preserved purity is unattainable. On his next trip to Phoebe's school, the graffiti solidifies his fear that no matter where he goes, it'll be tainted by the adult world. Lastly as he's watching Phoebe on the carousel, the idea that sooner or later, innocence will be lost, sinks in. He becomes at peace with something he once dreaded. Through Holden's travels, he realizes innocence cannot be protected
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