Throughout the novel, Holden shows protection over innocence through what he expresses to the reader. In a conversation Holden has with his sister Phoebe, she asks him what he would want to be. In response, Holden says, “... I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. ... I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t know where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them ... I’d just be the catcher in the rye” (Salinger 224-225). Holden reveals his desire to be the protector of in...
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...he idea that Allie is dead; he physically cannot contain his emotional devastation at the fact that his brother is no longer a living child.
It is unclear whether or not Holden actually matured throughout this novel. However, it is obvious Holden is a very troubled teenager who needs to let go of his fixation of innocence. Holden constantly runs away from all aspects of adulthood through his protecting of innocence, alienating himself, avoidance of responsibility, and his intimidation of change. J.D. Salinger tells his reader in this novel that it is okay to be afraid of growing up; but it is something that everyone has to do and it is better to accept it than to remain a child. So, the teenage girl counting down the days until her sixteenth and eighteenth birthday can keep counting because growing up is inevitable and running away from her maturation is useless.
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