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Preservation Of Innocence In The Catcher In The Rye

680 words - 3 pages

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.
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s outlook in life is either the innocence of childhood or the cruelty of adulthood. He believes that the innocence of childhood is very valuable and it should be protected from the cruelty and phoniness of the adult world. Therefore Holden has a desire and is compelled to protect a child’s innocence at all costs. This is revealed when Holden tells Phoebe that he wants to be the catcher in the rye. Holden says to Phoebe, “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 out where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them” (173). Holden is talking about protecting the children so they will not experience the cruelty of the adult world. If he catches the children before they fall, he will preserve their innocence and keep them from the cruelties of the adult world. Holden’s only desire and goal in life is to be the catcher in the rye because is the only job that is appealing to him where he can shows his love and protection for childhood innocence, “That’s all I’d 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” (173).
Holden does not want adolescents to become adults because he believes that adults are corrupt and he wants to protect them from this corruptness. This is seen when Holden tries to erase the swearing words...

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