Who is Holden?
The Catcher in the Rye is a very short coming of age story and the main character Holden Caulfield is trying to discover his identity while still emerging into adulthood. Holden describes himself as “the catcher in the rye” to catch the children falling off a cliff. The cliff represents adulthood and Holden wants the kids to keep their innocence. I believe this shows in Holden’s love for his little sister, Phoebe. His brother, who passed away from leukemia, never got the chance to grow up. I don’t think Holden is necessarily happy with the death of his brother, but perhaps happy he didn’t have to see the troubles of adulthood and adolescence. Throughout the novel, Holden comes off as a bit of a pessimist who needs to grow up. He comes off as not as kind as he actually is. In the small things he does, he shows how kind and humane he really is.
Sunny, the prostitute, comes in not too late in the story when Holden decides to ask for her from the elevator man. She comes and not much happens. In fact, they only talk (although she isn’t able to have a good conversation). “So, why does Holden back down this time? Partly because he can't do anything, ever. But also partly because she's just a kid.” (Shmoop Editorial Team). The Shmoop Editorial Team claims that Holden shows his desire to keep innocence because he states that Sunny is “young as hell” (96). Holden doesn’t really want to do anything sexual with her. Not only does this show Holden’s deep desire to keep innocence in the world but it also shows that he really does have a good heart. Holden realizes how messed up the whole situation, just as the Shmoop Team argues in the article.
In my sixteen years of living, I’ve realized the obvious. There is nothing innocent about sexual acts. As stated before, Holden doesn’t want to have sex with the prostitute. Another kind thing Holden does is he never pressures Jane, a love interest of his, to do anything she doesn’t want to. They also were pretty young, but they never even kissed or touched much. The most they did was hold hands. This is very respectable of Holden and shows that he truly cares about Jane. Jane seems like she wouldn’t want to do anything with Holden if instead of never talking to her again, Holden did and made a move on her. He really cares whether or not her and...