The Innocence of Childhood in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

The Innocence of Childhood in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

Length: 1249 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Growing up and becoming mature can be an intimidating experience; it is difficult to let go of one’s childhood and embrace the adult world. For some people, this transition from youthfulness to maturity can be much more difficult than for others. These people often try to hold on to their childhood as long as they can. Unfortunately, life is not so simple. One cannot spend their entire life running from the responsibilities and hardships of adulthood because they will eventually have to accept the fact that they have a role in society that they must fulfill as a responsible, mature individual. The novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger follows the endeavours of Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old teenage boy who faces a point in his life where he must make the transition from childhood to adulthood. In an attempt to retain his own childhood, he begins hoping to stop other young children from growing up and losing their innocence as well. As indicated by the title, “The Catcher in the Rye” is a book that explores a theme involving the preservation of innocence, especially of children. It is a story about a boy who is far too hesitant to grow up, and feels the need to ensure that no one else around him has to grow up either. His own fear of maturity and growing up is what leads to Holden’s desire to become a “catcher in the rye” so he can save innocent children from becoming part of the “phoniness” of the adult world.
To begin with, Holden’s love for the innocence and purity of childhood makes him very hesitant to transition into an adult life. Generally, he finds children to be straightforward, easygoing, and simply pure in every way. This is because they always say what they mean, and never try to set a false façade for...


... middle of paper ...


... childhood. Additionally, his concern with the way that things are constantly changing also communicates his wish to simply freeze everything and keep it the way it is. That way, neither he nor any other child would have to go through the pain of growing up. Despite all of Holden’s thoughts about preventing “loss of innocence” and change, he is helpless in the end because change is inevitable and everyone has to grow up and play their part in life, whether they want to or not. Becoming an adult, no matter how hard it may be for an individual, is an important part of their life cycle. All in all, the preservation of innocence is a noteworthy cause, but is not a completely realistic one because it is not within the grasp of humans to change the way in which their minds develop.



Works Cited

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1951. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Childhood Innocence is Everything in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

- ... Now he understands that “if [kids] want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything” (211). They should be allowed to make mistakes on their own, and learn from them without any interference “If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them”, they have no need for anyone to protect their innocence (211). The additional significance of this scene lies in the gold ring’s symbol. It is a physical manifestation of the book’s main theme, the fear of growing up....   [tags: carousel, utopia, self-worth]

Strong Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)

Innocence In The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

- ... Consequently, Holden’s constant thoughts about suicide lead to his own loss of innocence and advancement toward adulthood. Likewise, Holden is also consistently rejected when he seeks help from others. On Saturday night, Holden rides the cab to Ernie’s. During the ride, Holden “sort of [strikes] up a conversation” with Horwitz, the cab driver, about the ducks in Central Park (Salinger 81). Holden does not know where to go and feels lost, relating himself to the ducks during winter. However, Horwitz blatantly shows no interest in the ducks and diverts the conversation to the fish in the pond instead, thinking that winter is “tougher for the fish” (Salinger 82)....   [tags: death, childhood, holden]

Strong Essays
1416 words (4 pages)

Parallels Between the Conflicts of J.D. Salinger and Holden Caulfield from Catcher and the Rye

- ... That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Salinger 173). Holden implies if you fall of the cliff of childhood you mature, but if Holden catches you, you remain innocent. Holdens views on innocence directly impacted the way he viewed of adults. The views he had on adults corresponded to the years when Holden lived with his parents. His parents were absent for the majority of his life. The only situation he would heard from his parents was when he got kicked out of school....   [tags: childhood, innocence, lonliness]

Strong Essays
612 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Salinger 's ' Catcher 's The Rye '

- In J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is seen by some critics as a drop-out student destined for failure in life, but I see him as a symbol of an adolescent who struggles to adapt to the reality of adulthood. Adolescents have a much more strenuous time responding to the dilemmas that arise due to their simple way of thinking that does not compare to the cognitive thinking that adults possess. Because of this, Holden’s behavior does not reflect what may seem like an inevitable negative outcome, but actually a motivation for a life changing plan....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger]

Strong Essays
1677 words (4.8 pages)

Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger Essay

- One of the purist times in a person’s life is childhood, during this time life is easy and often romanticized. As a person grows older the innocence and naivety of childhood begins to fade into a hardness caused by the harsh realties of adulthood. Though the transition from childhood is hard, one most remember not to rush into adulthood savor your innocence . In Catcher In the Rye , by J.D. Salinger the main character Holden Caulfield is in the transitional stage, he finds it hard for him to grow-up and act like an adult....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Strong Essays
901 words (2.6 pages)

Analysis Of Salinger 's ' The Catcher Rye ' Essay

- Someone 's possessions can help other people understand their personality traits and persona. In J.D. Salingers “The Catcher in the Rye”, Salinger uses symbols such as a red hunting hat to represent comfort and protection against the cold winter weather and judgment from his grey hair. Furthermore, the carousel represents happiness and innocence because it is the only time in the book Holden is happy; when Phoebe is riding the carousal. Lastly, Allie’s baseball mitt represents Holden 's love for his deceased brother as well as Allie 's authentic uniqueness....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger, Baseball]

Strong Essays
1328 words (3.8 pages)

The Catcher Of The Rye : Theme Loss Of Innocence Essay

- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger has many different possibilities when discussing possibilities for theme. Salinger focuses heavily on innocence in this novel this leading us to the theme loss of innocence. The Catcher in the Rye is a bildungsroman and Holden Caulfield is a teenager looking for his identity therefore we can conclude that searching for identity could be a theme in this story. Holden has suffered a death already and it has affected him greatly coping with death is another possible theme for this story....   [tags: J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye]

Strong Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Childhood Immaculateness in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, a novel about the period of growth from childhood to adulthood, portrays the disappearance of childhood immaculateness. The main character of the novel is Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old boy who suffers from PTSD because of the death of his younger brother, Allie. The story begins with Holden talking to, what is assumed to be, a therapist about crazy things that had happened in his life. The novel is a flashback in Holden’s perspective that takes place in approximately three days....   [tags: catcher, lessons, checkers, profanity]

Strong Essays
1028 words (2.9 pages)

Preservation of Innocence In The Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others....   [tags: The Catcher in the Rye Essays]

Strong Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)

The Death of Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

-    Holden identifies with, yearns for, and despises traits of the adult and child realms. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, fears becoming an adult who exhibits the characteristics that he holds complaints against. Throughout this Bildungsroman narrative, Holden searches for his identity. He tries to figure out his place either in the adult or child realm. Holden possesses a combination of fear and hatred for "phonies". Holden uses this term to describe a wide range of people including shallow, superficial, fake, untruthful, or hypocritical individuals....   [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]

Strong Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)