Holden's Escape Of Corruption Through Childhood And Innocence In The Catcher In The Rye

2734 words - 11 pages

Holden's Escape of Corruption Through Childhood and Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye
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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. However he was unsuccessful in
his strong sense of desire to prevent this inevitable fall into
adulthood. Later in the novel after coming to terms with this fact, he
developed a new desire to act as ' The Catcher In The Rye' and protect
the innocent children who have yet not faced the wicked society of

There are a number of ways in which Holden was trying to hold onto his
childhood and innocence. For example Holden struggled to maintain his
virginity. His virginity was a crucial sign of his boyhood innocence,
which was related to his dead brother, Allie and childhood. If he had
let go of that then he would also be regarded as corrupted like his

Holden wanted to prevent himself from entering into the adult world
which sex strongly revolved around. Sex was something that fascinated
him but also repelled him at the same time. He wished to experience
what it was all about. However he had established that passion was not
dedicated to him, even though he enjoyed women's company and yearned
for a sexual life. Holden was not appealed by the physical reality.

Holden's confusion was clearly shown in chapter thirteen, in relation
to the prostitute. This chapter demonstrated Holden's child-like
behavior and his inability to fulfil his sexual desires. He was
confused about his virginity and could not foresee how he would react
in front of the prostitute. However he thought the prostitute would at
least offer an opportunity to practice his sexual skills.

"…. When I'm horsing around with a girl, I have a hulluva lot of
trouble just finding what I'm looking for" (Chapter 13).

The prostitute appeared very experienced. There was great contrast
between her determination and Holden's discomfort. Holden had no vivid
knowledge on this issue to tackle her professionalism. Holden offered
a fictitious name, which was disregarded. He also matured his age by
an additional six years, which was also disbelieved; and his desperate
wish to delay the moment of confrontation treated with despise. Holden
had now deliberately involved himself with the adult world and must
extricate himself. He was searching for love and she was selling sex.
Holden refused to proceed once he began to consider the prostitute as
an individual. He could no longer consider her as a sex object and he
gathered a...

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