Adolescence, the period of life involving the transformation from a teenager into an adult, is a vital time in one’s life where many begin to unearth who they are and the very things they desire as they transition into the adult world. In J.D. Salinger’s timeless American novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden is a downhearted teenage boy struggling to leave his childhood behind in transition to the phony adult world he despises in order to explore universal themes including the phoniness of the adult world and the loss of innocence that is associated with the transition into adulthood. Through Salinger’s abundant use of symbolism, the reader is able to analyze Holden, his struggles, and angst towards change as he transitions into the adult world so that one is able to come to a deeper understanding and comprehension of the themes explored. Children represent the epitome of innocence to Holden, uncorrupted by the phoniness of the adult world and society. Throughout the story, Holden rarely finds adults who he doesn’t deem to be phonies, yet not once is a child deemed phony. “She thanked me and all when I had it tightened for her. She was a very nice polite kid. God, I love it when a kid’s nice and polite when you tighten their skate for them or something. Most kids are, they really are” (155). Looking for Phoebe, Holden resorts to questioning a young girl about Phoebe’s whereabouts. Holden pleasantly converses with the little girl, even as she is barely able to supply Holden with a complete answer. Just as he is about to take off, he notices her hands that had turned red from the cold while trying to tighten her skates. Remembering the million times he joyously tightened his skates as a child, he sympathizes ... ... middle of paper ... ...hing. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad to say anything to them” (274). At the end of the novel, Holden comes to vital realization that it’s simply not possible to protect one’s innocence forever. One’s adolescence can be a struggle to get through, and Holden recognizes that growing up is unavoidable, but, as one transforms into an adult, he believes they should do so on their own, learn from their mistakes, and not be influenced so much by others. In other words, the phoniness of others’ results from their inability to truly express themselves and their personalities without fear of judgement. To Holden, the innocence he sees within children distinguishes their personalities’ from adults; he sees their lack of fear in expressing who they are, their uncorrupted genuine nature, untouched by the seriousness and problems that plague the phony adult world.
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In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s outlook in life is either the innocence of childhood or the cruelty of adulthood. He believes that the innocence of childhood is very valuable and it should be protected from the cruelty and phoniness of the adult world. Therefore Holden has a desire and is compelled to protect a child’s innocence at all costs. This is revealed when Holden tells Phoebe that he wants to be the catcher in the rye. Holden says to Phoebe, “What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they’re ru...
We see during the novel that Holden wants to be able to protect innocence in the world, however by the end of the story he lets go of that desire. This is a point of growth for Holden. He finds that it is impossible and unnecessary to keep all the innocence in the world. While with Phoebe Holden says, “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye...I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff...That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye” (173). In this moment Holden wants to be able to preserve all the youth and innocence in the world. He doesn’t accept that kids have to grow and change and that they can’t stay innocent forever. Later on in the story when Holden is with Phoebe at a carousel again he thinks, “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them.” At the end of the novel Holden realizes and comes to terms with the fact that kids grow and lose their innocence. He moves from his want to be the “catcher in the rye” to...
Holden Caulfield, portrayed in the J.D. Salinger novel Catcher in the Rye as an adolescent struggling to find his own identity, possesses many characteristics that easily link him to the typical teenager living today. The fact that the book was written many years ago clearly exemplifies the timeless nature of this work. Holden's actions are those that any teenager can clearly relate with. The desire for independence, the sexually related encounters, and the questioning of ones religion are issues that almost all teens have had or will have to deal with in their adolescent years. The novel and its main character's experiences can easily be related to and will forever link Holden with every member of society, because everyone in the world was or will be a teen sometime in their life.
...oes want them to turn into “phonies.” Holden seeks for a peaceful and uncorrupt world but he cannot obtain that due to the actions of others. Despite Holden’s attitude and outlook on life, he is quite passionate. Although he is a firm pessimist, calling every person he comes across a “phony,” there is an alternate side to him. In his interaction with Phoebe and the other children in the book, he tries to protect them from the rest of society, since children are still naïve and pure. It is justifiable why Holden craves to preserve the innocence of others. For most of us, growing up, we begin to understand more. We start to look at life in a different perspective, different from the one we did when we were young, but as a person who has seen and experienced more in life.
Protected by a cocoon of naiveté, Holden Caulfield, the principal character in the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, therapeutically relates his lonely 24 hour stay in downtown New York city, experiencing the "phony" adult world while dealing with the death of his innocent younger brother. Through this well-developed teenage character, JD Salinger, uses simple language and dialogue to outline many of the complex underlying problems haunting adolescents. With a unique beginning and ending, and an original look at our new society, The Catcher in the Rye is understood and appreciated on multiple levels of comprehension. The book provides new insights and a fresh view of the world in which adolescents live.
Holden cannot accept the loss of innocence as a step into the growing up process. The ones that he loves most, are those who are younger to him, they are innocent, and untouched by society’s truths. Holden says, “…I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around-nobody big. I mean – except me.
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 innocence and the reader sees that he would rather live in his own fantasy of innocence, than face the reality of the world around him. In his dream world, Holden wishes to be someone who protects children’s innocence. Similar to a child, Holden oversimplifies real life and has his own fantasy of what he wants to do. Lott and Latham stated in regards to Holden and his journey while finding his identity and say, “... the heroes also experience disillusionment with themselves and with the world around them as they move from innocent idealism of the very young to a more realistic acceptance of personal limits and social imperfections” (24). During the novel, it is obvious that Holden is stuck between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood. Holden 's obsession with innocence causes difficulty in accepting the responsibilities of adulthood. Everything is considered “phony” by Holden, except for what is still innocent. Holden is completely fixated on all forms of innocence and wishes to stay in
Proving Holden’s innocence is still very bold, he is evidently worried and not emotionally prepared to grow up and finish his transition from being a child to an adult. Plainly, Holden feels the need to prevent children from transitioning into adulthood giving the reader an insight into his own mind. Unfortunately, due to the inevitability of growing up, innocence must be lost hence all children being deemed innocent when adults are not.
Holden Caulfield, the teenage protagonist of Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, struggles with having to enter the adult world. Holden leaves school early and stays in New York by himself until he is ready to return home. Holden wants to be individual, yet he also wants to fit in and not grow up. The author uses symbolism to represent Holden’s internal struggle.
Innocence lies within everyone in at least one point in their lives, but as reality consumes them, that purity begins to vanish slowly as they learn new experiences. In the coming of age novel set in the nineteen-forties, J.D Salinger writes about a sixteen-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield who stands between a road that separates childhood from adulthood and is confused about which path to take. On a three-day trip in New York away from his family and fellow peers at school, Holden encounters many situations in which lead him to think twice about who he wants to become and how he wants to guide others who are in the same situation he is in. In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger utilizes symbolism, vivid imagery, and slangy diction to expose Holden’s struggle to preserve the innocence of the people that he loves while alienating himself from the adult world he calls “phony.”
Upon introduction, Holden Caulfield gives the impression of being a textbook teenage boy. He argues that Pencey Prep, the all-boys academy at which he studied, is no greater than any other school and is “full of crooks.”(Salinger, 7) His harsh language only further argues that he is situated in an all-male environment and has no apparent filter for when swearing is inappropriate. Despite all of the indications that Holden is typical, it soon becomes evident that Holden’s personality does not conform to the teenage stereotype. Although he appears to have some friends, namely, his roommate, Stradlater, and ‘Ackley kid’, it is clear that he does not integrate well with his peer group. Holden’s inability to read social cues leaves him in the dust when all of his “friends” have matured enough to recognize his need for improvement. He is constantly making jokes out of everything without any thought as to how h...
Holden says, “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all... And I 'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff...I 'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it 's crazy, but that 's the only thing I 'd really like to be.” (191). Holden is saying that he wants to catch kids who are about to fall of the cliff. What he means by this is he wants to save kids before they lose their innocence. Holden does not want any kids losing their innocence, and he says his dream is to just be there, at that cliff to save anyone who gets into something that is awful and depressing. Another quote in the book that shows holden does not want kids to lose their innocence is when he sees a vulgar word scratched into a wall, visible to kids at a school. “Fuck you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I 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. I kept wanting to kill whoever 'd written it.” (221). Holden truly worries about the kids seeing this word because he doesn 't want them to have any fear or uneasiness. He
Some people feel all alone in this world, with no direction to follow but their empty loneliness. The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D Salinger, follows a sixteen-year-old boy, Holden Caulfield, who despises society and calls everyone a “phony.” Holden can be seen as a delinquent who smokes tobacco, drinks alcohol, and gets expelled from a prestigious boarding school. This coming-of-age book follows the themes of isolation, innocence, and corrupted maturity which is influenced from the author's life and modernism, and is shown through the setting, symbolism, and diction.
The two worlds of childhood and adulthood are not as separate as Holden thinks they are. He cuts himself off from the rest of the world by judging others around him, mostly adults. In the book it says, “ What I liked about her, she didn’t give you a lot of horse manure about what a great guy her father was. She probably knew what a phony slob he was.” (Pg 3). The book starts off with him judging an adult that he barely knows. Holden is physically an adult, but in his mind, he is only a child. He can relate to a child better than he can with an