Catcher In The Rye Protection Of Innocence Literature Argumentative Essay

1012 words - 5 pages

Many themes are discussed in The Catcher in the Rye; real versus fake, death, sexual confusion, and perhaps the most significant, protection of innocence. Holden Caulfield finds himself being sucked into these themes and symbols. Protection of innocence, mainly with young children, is the more pressing matter on Holden’s mind mainly because he can relate it to the difficulties he had when he was growing up. After all he had been through; he realizes that he would do anything to keep children innocent.
Holden always talks about how phony the world is, he mentions in a conversation with Sally Hayes that he’s been to several different private schools, but they’re all the same to him, “’It’s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques’” (Salinger 131). But on the off chance you catch Holden on a good day, he’ll talk about how real something can be, like the time when he saw a 6-year old walking down the street singing “If a body catch a body coming through the rye,” he smiles, knowing that the boy isn’t worried about anything around him, he’s just caught up in living in the moment, and to Holden, that’s beautiful. The people Holden admires – in his eyes – are also protectors of innocence. But at some point, you’ve got to grow up, you’ve got to step foot into the phony world. Jane Gallagher is a very big protector of innocence to Holden; she is simply the girl he used to play checkers with when he was young. He explains that they never had any sexual relationship; quite simply they would just hold hands.
Holden wants to be “the Catcher in the Rye.” He pictures children playing in a field of rye with recklessness, and if they end up falling off the cliff – into the adult world – Holden would be there to catch them. “Anyway, 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. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be” (Salinger 173). His attitude changes when he realizes that Phoebe and other children as a whole must be able...

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