Essay PreviewMore ↓
No Innocence in Catcher in the Rye
Probably the greatest irony of the novel is the fact that, despite
his love of "childhood innocence," Holden is and acts far from innocent
himself. In fact, he is its antithesis. He acts that way for many reasons.
First of all, he has so many responsibilities. Second, he never fits in
with the crowd, and finally, he never gets any real help for the problems
that he deals with.
Holden does have a love for "childhood innocence" as seen across
the book. For example, on page two hundred and one "Somebody'd written '
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-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... But I rubbed it [The 'fuck you' written on the wall] out
anyway." Another example is on page two hundred and eight, "'So shut up.'
It was the first time she [Phoebe] ever told me to shut up. It sounded
terrible. God, it sounded terrible. It sounded worse than swearing." There
is one more outstanding quotation from the novel which is found on page two
hundred and thirteen. "I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old
Phoebe was going around and around [the carousel]." All these examples
clearly show that Holden appreciated "childhood innocence" to a great
extent. Yet Holden acts the opposite.
The irony in this novel is Holden's behavior, which is far from
being innocent. He smokes, drinks, always depressed, thinks about suicide,
thinks about going embarking to a far place, and has people tell and act in
many weird ways. There are three main reasons why he acts this way. Firstly,
Holden being only sixteen years of age already has so much responsibility.
He has to get money for food and travel. When he travels he has to make
sure he doesn't get lost, and actually gets there. He has to make sure that
he doesn't flunk school.
How to Cite this Page
"Free Essays - No Innocence in Catcher in the Rye." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Sep 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Free Essay on The Catcher in the Rye The catcher in the rye is a work of fiction and a tragic-comedy. I came to choose it because I heard it is about a boy who is around my age. In this book, the main character, Holden Caulfield, tells us a story about what happened during his Christmas vacation. Holden is a sixteen-year-old boy who has flunked out of a private prep school. Because he is afraid that his parents would find out this fact, he goes to a hotel in New York City instead of going home after he leaves school for Christmas vacation.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
895 words (2.6 pages)
- Holden's Escape of Corruption Through Childhood and Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye Works Cited Missing Holden Caulfield was in conflict with the society he was living in. He regarded it as corrupted and totally insincere; and therefore he attempted to escape from falling into this corruption of adulthood, by holding onto his childhood innocence.... [tags: The Catcher in the Rye]
1702 words (4.9 pages)
- The Role of Allie in Catcher in the Rye Some authors create characters that appear briefly or not at all, but are a significant presence. Even though he was dead, Allie affected the action, theme and development of Holden. The death of Holden's younger brother Allie played an important role in Holden's actions. Holden could not deal with his death and showed it by causing physical harm to himself. He did this to escape the pain he was feeling inside. Holden said that Allie was "terrifically intelligent" and the "nicest" person. Because Allie died so young, Holden felt that his innocence was taken away from him.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
435 words (1.2 pages)
- Symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye", published in 1951, is his best piece of work. The story is about a sixteen-year old young man by the name of Holden Caulfield. Holden is being expelled from Pency Prep and decides to leave three days early. He chooses to not go home, enabling his parents to receive the letter that his head master at Pency Prep wrote to his parents about his expulsion. He chooses to hang around in New York until Wednesday, when he is going to be able to return home.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
826 words (2.4 pages)
- The Metamorphosis of Holden in Sallinger's Catcher in the Rye In J.D. Sallinger's Catcher in the Rye, is based on the sullen life of Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old teen-ager is trying to find his sense of direction. Holden, a growing adult, cannot accept the responsibilities of an adult. Eventually realizing that there is no way to avoid the adult life, he can only but accept this alternative lifestyle. What Holden describes the adult world as a sinful, corrupted life, he avoids it for three important reasons: His hatred towards phonies and liars, unable to accept adult responsibilities, and thirdly to enshrine his childhood youth.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
823 words (2.4 pages)
- Troubled Holden in Catcher in the Rye In J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is portrayed as a young, troubled individual. He tells us his story from the mental institution where he is currently residing. Holden refuses to acknowledge his emotions in regard to the death of his brother Allie. In reaction to Allie's death, Holden hides from himself, his true feelings about change, death and relationships with other people. He does not realize that his Allie died of leukemia three years before this story takes place.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
934 words (2.7 pages)
- The Etymology and Symbolism of Characters' Names in Catcher in the Rye Catcher in the Rye's pallid cover, adorned only with seven multicolored bands in its upper-left corner, is not what one would call eye-catching. Its reverse side lacks criticisms or reviews of any sort; in fact, it is bare of anything except a copyright date. Human beings are advised not to judge books by their covers, rather that they should look further than the obvious and try to apprehend the implied meaning.... [tags: Symbols Symbolism Catcher in the Rye]
1975 words (5.6 pages)
- The Misfit Hero of The Catcher In The Rye The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger was published in 1951. "A recurring theme in J.D. Salinger's stories concerns people who don't fit in with the traditional American Culture. Salinger's 'misfit heroes', unlike the rest of society, are caught in the struggle between a superficial world and a conscious morality" (1 Wildermuth). In his attempt to create a new and realistic portrayal of the times, Salinger first, effectively creates Holden Caulfield, the main character.... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
2104 words (6 pages)
- Themes of Society and Growing Up in The Catcher in the Rye In reading J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, one is compelled to have a very strong reaction to the contents of the book. Whether that reaction is negative or positive, it is unquestionable that the reader will give the novel a second thought after reading it. There could be many reasons why this novel has such an impact on the readers. It may be the use of Salinger's catchy slang phrases, bitingly sarcastic and usually negative, grabbing the attention of the reader. Another possibility is Holden, the novel's subject and lead character. "He describes everything as 'phony', is constantly in search of sincerit... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
1380 words (3.9 pages)
- The Quest For Love in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In the Rye In many novels written by J.D. Salinger, there is a recurring theme of love that arises and that indicates the character of the individual in the novel. Salinger uses love in the context of being a device that is used to protect and to care for people who need protecting and caring. In Salinger's novel, Catcher in the Rye, love is used by a character, Holden Caulfield, who struggles desperately to find a certain somebody or anyone to allocate his love to, but realizes finally, that this love is not necessarily expressed through saving " the children in the rye" from the time of trial, but actually caring for them and being th... [tags: Catcher Rye Essays]
2367 words (6.8 pages)
by itself, but there are still more reasons that his life is so difficult.
Secondly, he never had anyone actually sit down with him, and figure out
the core of his problems. For example, when Allie died his parents didn't
send him to a psychologist so that the he can help Holden deal with the
immense pain, instead his parents sent him to boarding school. When Holden
was kicked out of a schools it didn't seem like the parents tried
understand why he was kicked out, and how they could help, instead they
sent him to another school. When Holden drank and smoked nobody bothered
telling him it was harmful. It seems as if his parents and the people
around him didn't really mind if he failed. Holden can't fix all the
problems by himself. He needs help, but if there is none then there is no
way he can act innocent. Lastly, he never fits in with the crowd. Most
likely because his personality is so different from everybody else's. He
can't stay himself when he talks to different people. For example when he
talked to the nuns in the café, he actually talked seriously without lying.
When Holden talks to Phoebe he lets out his thoughts and feelings. While
with Mrs. Morrow, as Holden says, "Then I started shooting the old crap
around..." Because he can't communicate with people he feels depressed which
makes him do such foolish things as smoke, drink, ordering a prostitute,
and just leaving everything that he has behind to travel to someplace far.
Holden faces three major problems in experiencing "childhood
innocence." He has too much responsibility. He doesn't have anyone to help
him with his problems, and he doesn't fit in with the crowd. A sixteen
year old, whose younger brother died, and parents ignore, and is facing all
those problems can't possibly under any circumstances be innocent.