The Catcher In The Rye

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The Catcher In The Rye In a novel, the theme is the insight of real life. J.D. Salinger’s initiation novel, The Catcher In The Rye, describes the adventures of 16-year old Holden Caulfield, the protagonist and first person narrator, who refuses to grow up and enter manhood. The most important theme developed by Salinger is Holden’s problem of dealing with change; he has trouble dealing with death, he refuses to accept children’s loss of innocence as a necessary step in the growing-up process, and has difficulties with growing up. Holden has a near obsession with the death of his younger brother Allie, who died at age thirteen due to leukemia. Holden had punched and broke all the windows in the garage out of anger; he says that his hands still hurt from the incident. Throughout the novel, Holden dwells on Allies’ death. From Holden's thoughts, it is obvious that he loves and misses Allie. In order to hold on to his brother and to minimize the pain of his loss, Holden brings Allie's baseball mitt along with him where ever he goes. The mitt has additional meaning and significance for Holden because Allie had written poetry, which Holden reads, from the baseball mitt. Towards the end of the book, Holden proves again that he can’t cope with death. Phoebe, his younger sister, is putting him on the spot by asking him what he likes, but Holden can only think of two nuns and a boy, James W. Castle. James W. Castle was a boy who Holden had lent his sweater to, Castle died unfortunately by being thrown out of a window wearing Holden’s sweater. Another thing that haunts Holden is the fact that during roll call in class, his last name always is called after Castles’ last name. After the brief moment of reminiscing, Holden irritates Phoebe by saying, “I like Allie…”. He has trouble acknowledging the death of his brother. 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.

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