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Where Is Your Innocence? Essay

743 words - 3 pages

Children—when you see one, you cannot help but smile a toothy grin. When you love one, you wish they would stay that way forever. In the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden Caulfield, is also a firm believer of this. Many times in the book, Holden finds himself in situations where he confronts purity and the harshness of the real world. All these situations have one thing in common, also one of the themes in the book: the preservation of innocence.
When Holden goes to meet his little sister, Phoebe, at her school, he notices crude graffiti, not once, but three times. The first two times are at Phoebe’s school, and Holden is furious: “I thought how Phoebe and all the other kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them—all 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” (201). The third time he sees the words are at the museum, a place where he seeks tranquility: “You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write ‘F--- you’ right under your nose” (204). The offensive words are not typically spoken around children, and Holden cannot stand the fact that someone can taint children’s unadulterated minds and consciences with something so evil, when they are so pure.
Although Holden may portray himself as a person with sexual experience in the book, he really is not. In fact, he is still a virgin: “If you want to know the truth, I’m a virgin, I really am” (92). When he comes across a prostitute named Sunny, he does not take advantage of her. Rather, he feels sorry for Sunny; that a girl her age would choose to have an occupation that involves her losing her innocence for a living. “It made me feel sort of sad when I...

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