preview

Theme Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

Growing up is something that everyone experiences, and along with growing up comes the loss of innocence. In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield wishes to be the “catcher in the rye” so that he can preserve the innocence of individuals. As Holden travels the streets of New York City, he realizes how ugly the adult world really is. As a troubled teenage boy, Holden does not want to grow up but soon concludes that he cannot stop himself from this process. Because of Holden’s belief that the adult world is full of phonies, his brother Allie’s death, and the loss of his own innocence, Holden feels compelled to protect the innocence of the people around him. Holden’s belief that the adult world is full of phonies makes him compelled to protect the innocence of the people around him. As the novel begins, Holden finds out he is getting kicked out of another preparatory school because of his pitiful grades. Retelling his journey from Pencey Preparatory School to New York City, Holden recalls many phonies he encounters on that trip. At Pencey Prep, Holden lives in the “Ossenburger Memorial Wing of the new dorms, [which] was named after this guy Ossenburger that went to Pencey” (Salinger 16). Later on, Holden discovers that Ossenburger made a great deal of money after he left Pencey, because “what he did, he started these undertaking parlors all over the country that you could get your family members buried for five bucks apiece” (Salinger 16). Holden states that Ossenburger is a phony because he is infatuated with making money by burying people with cheap funerals. After getting loads of money, Ossenburger gives a speech in a chapel that “lasted about ten hours… telling us we should always pray to God... ... middle of paper ... ...ck of it” (Salinger 172). Lying, drinking underage, smoking, and cursing are all factors that prove that Holden does not have his purity anymore. Holden is not innocent; he is in fact being sucked into the cruel adult world and does not even recognize it. Because of Holden’s opinion that the adult world is filled with phonies, his younger brother Allie’s death, and the deprivation of his own innocence, Holden feels the urge to protect the innocence of the important people in his life. From his weekend long journey from Pencey to New York City, Holden tries to discover the difference between the child world and the adult world. As his trip ends, Holden comes to the realization that growing up is a part of life that everyone experiences. In conclusion, growing up is a life process that every single person has to go through and which he cannot stop it from happening.
Get Access