Holden Caulfield´s Innocence and Purity in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

848 Words4 Pages
In a society filled with impureness, Holden Caulfield searches for purity and innocence in everyone around him. Lonely, affectionate, and judgmental, Holden is the narrator and protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye. His actions and the way he acts reveals that Holden is very lonely, and is longing for human companionship. Holden is somewhat mature above his age, but still desires pleasures like any other teenage boy. After meeting people, Holden becomes very judgemental about the way people act. Theses traits all come together at the end and put Holden into a psychiatric institution, living a few miles away from his big brother. Throughout the entire story, Holden tells the reader that he is very lonesome, but never actually does anything to to get rid of the feeling. He has been burned multiple times, by friends and the people he loves, making it hard for him to want anyone in his life. Holden invited Ackley to the movies, because Holden knew that Ackley spent saturdays alone. Then when Holden was in need of a friend or a place to sleep, Ackley wanted Holden to leave. Instead of Stradlater thanking Holden for writing his paper, Stradlater does the opposite and yells at Holden. So it is very evident that Holden has been hurt many times, and has lost the need of a companion. When he arrives in New York, the first thing he does is go to a phone booth and leaves without calling anyone. This passage from the story tells a lot about Holden, “I couldn't think of anybody to call up. My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe goes to bed around nine o'clock--so I couldn't call her up. (...) My parents would be the ones. So that was out. Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher's mother a buzz, and find out when Jane's vacat... ... middle of paper ... ...y to be a pure place, without corrupted people who fall for greed, money, and drugs. Throughout the whole story the biggest hypocrite is Holden, meaning he is the biggest phony. Holden ran away from home, school, lies yet criticises liars, gets extremely upset when others swear, yet he swears more than often. While walking through the school, Holden notices, “Somebody'd written "Fuck you" on the wall. It drove [him] damn near crazy. [He] thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them--all cockeyed, naturally--what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days.” (pg.201) This passage really shows how much Holden cares about the innocence of the children especially his sister, and how he wants to preserve that.
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