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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Essay

There are many examples in the Catcher in the Rye, that show Holden’s hate toward the idea of losing innocence. Holden mentions a lot about children, his love for them and how he wants to save their innocence. He seems to relate more to people younger than him, whether they are male of female. He cares about them so much, becuase they haven’t lost their innocence, unlike adults who are all “phonies.” There are three main things he does and talks about, that shows his concern. His fascination to save innocence, erasing profanity, and Allie’s baseball glove.

The first thing he constantly mentions is the loss of innocence. Holden seems to gravitate toward children; he shows them respect more then anyone else. He backs this up by mentioning how childrem are not phonies. Whenever he is around children he seems to curse less, and he has a nicer attitude toward them, rather than complaining.

“Thousands of little kids and nobody’s around –

nobody big, I mean except me. Ans 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” (Salinger 173)

He is more worried about the children and their innocence, then worrying about himself and school.

The second things hes does is erasing the profanity that was written in the school’s walls. He hated the ides of children seeing it and reading the swear words that were being written on the walls. He has a feeling that children would lose their innocence and more or less have the mentality of an adolescent and become “phonie.”

“Somebody’d written “**** ***” on the wall. It

drove me damn near crazy, I thought how Phoebe and

all other little kids would see it, and how they’d

wonder what the hell that meant, and then finally

some dirty kids would tell them.” (Salinger 201)

What ironic is, that even though he doens’t want the kids to know any profanity, he always swears, even when he is around Pheobe.

The third thing is that he keeps talking about his borther Allie, his baseball glove, and his death. Holden has a really hard time dealing with the death of Allie. Reason being that he does not like to see a child lose his/her innocence. He hates the fact that innocence was lost, and he could not save it, because he is not the catcher in the rye. The glove is the only memory of Allie and his innocence. Another thing that pained him is that his brother did not lose his innocence from adulthood, but from life and his death.

“He got leukaemian and died when we up in Maine, on

July 18, 1946. You’ve liked him. He was two years

younger than I was, but he was fifty times

intelligent.” (Salinger 38)

In conclusion, Holden’s fascination with children exceeds everything, even the respect for his parents. Children in a way do have an innocent aspect. Holden’s perception of innocence made the book very intriguing, because no one knos what he is going to do or say next. It is almost like he has a double personality, sometimes he is cruel to people and criticise them, and sometimes he is caring and looked everything in a nice way, especially children.

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