Catcher In The Rye Essay: The Innocence Of Holden

885 words - 4 pages

The Innocence of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

 

In J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, spends several days wandering around New York. During this time, he learns many things about himself. He seems to have some sort of mental problem, but this problem fortunately begins to be less serious by the end of the story. But more interesting that the things he knows about himself are the things he does not know about himself. Holden is constantly holding children on a pedestal and dismissing adults as "phonies." Holden, though he does not know it, subconsciously protects the innocence of childhood within his mind.

 

In the book, Holden constantly reminisces about Jane Gallagher, a friend of his that he met a few summers ago in Maine. The day that Holden leaves Pencey, Stradlater tells him that he is going on a date with Jane. Upon hearing this, Holden says to Stradlater:

 

"...I used to play checkers with her all the time."

"You used to play what with her all the time?"

"Checkers."

"Checkers, for Chrissake!"

"Yeah. She wouldn't move any of her kings. What she'd do, when she'd get a king, she wouldn't move it. She'd just leave it in the back row. She'd get them all lined up in the back row. Then she'd never use them. She just liked the way the looked when they were all in the back row." (31-32)

 

Holden later becomes jealous of Stradlater when he suspects that he had sex with Jane. As Holden later wanders around New York, many times he has an impulse to call Jane but does not. He never gives a reason, but subconsciously, he realizes that if he calls Jane, he will have to face a new person, who may have lost the innocence of a girl who plays checkers and keeps all her kings in the back row. Holden is afraid to face the possibility of a "new" Jane, and so he reminisces of the "old" Jane, rather than telephoning her.

 

Holden also reminisces about his younger brother, Allie, who has passed away. He views his brother, at times, as a god. When he is walking down Fifth Avenue, he is afraid that he will fall off the curb every time he reaches the end of a block and will die, so he prays to Allie:

 

Then I started doing something else. Every time I'd get to the end of a block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, "Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please,...

Find Another Essay On Catcher in the Rye Essay: The Innocence of Holden

The Metamorphosis of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye

1302 words - 5 pages The Metamorphosis of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye       Without love and guidance, young people often find themselves lost; unsure of what direction their lives are headed. Such is the case with Holden Caulfield, a character from the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Holden is a sixteen-year old boy who has lost his way. Hold has suffered a great loss, the death of his Brother, Allie.     Holden is

Holden Caulfield 's "Catcher in the Rye"

723 words - 3 pages The Catcher in the Rye, starts off with the main character, Holden Caulfield being expelled from school once again. Holden is a sixteen year old boy who has been expelled on numerous occasions from other schools. This time he is being expelled from Pency Prep. Before Holden goes home to his parents, he plans to spend a few days in New York. His parents do not know of the expulsion, so he spends the weekend in a hotel. Holden is a pretty strange

Catcher In The Rye: Holden Character Analysis

2189 words - 9 pages , 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'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. As we can tell already, Holden enjoys escaping reality, and instead slipping into fantasy. He has a view that children are all innocent and pure, while adults are

The Theme of Innocence in The Catcher In the Rye

1128 words - 5 pages In many novels the title of the story is more important than most people initially think. It often reveals important information about the story. In The Catcher In the Rye, Holden says that his dream job would to be the catcher in rye. This is significant to the story because of how Holden feels that adults are trying to ruin the innocence of children, and how he can be the one that saves them. Holden then realizes he cannot always be the one to

Analysis of Holden Caulfield from the Catcher in the Rye

611 words - 2 pages The number of readers who have been able to identify with Holden and make him their hero is truly staggering. Something about his discontent, and his vivid way of expressing it, makes him resonate powerfully with readers who come from backgrounds completely different from his. It is tempting to inhabit his point of view and revel in his cantankerousness rather than try to deduce what is wrong with him. The obvious signs that Holden is a troubled

Innocence in The Catcher in The Rye

849 words - 3 pages In The Catcher in The Rye, by J.D, the main character, Holden, can be seen as a troubled teenager growing up in a less than perfect society. Throughout the novel Holden struggles with the fact that many young and innocent kids will grow up and see the world from a different perspective. He naturally becomes worried for all future generations who will one day grow, as he did, and loose their innocence. The fixation of youth and innocence can be

The Death of Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye

1252 words - 5 pages bleeding, dear,'...`I got hit with a snowball...One of those very icy ones.'. Clearly, the way "phonies" lie rubs off on Holden. Since Holden shows signs of a "phony", and he hates "phonies", he in a sense, hates himself. Holden knows he has lost his own innocence; now he realizes he possesses the ability to protect the innocence of other children. While narrating The Catcher in the Rye, Holden persistently uses the word "phony" to describe many

Holden Caulfield's State Of Mind-Catcher In The Rye

574 words - 2 pages Holden Caulfield's State of Mind The Catcher in the Rye Close to the end of the novel, Holden Caulfield is on the verge of another emotional breakdown. There are many factors which contributed to Holden's state of mind such as Allie's death, his expulsion from Pencey Prep school and the incident with Mr. Antolini. These incidents all contributed to Holden's emotionally unstable state of mind in "The Catcher in the Rye".Allie's death, I feel, is

Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden and the Complexity of Adult Life

1206 words - 5 pages Holden and the Complexity of Adult Life What was wrong with Holden, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger, was his moral revulsion against anything that was ugly, evil, cruel, or what he called "phoney" and his acute responsiveness to beauty and innocence, especially the innocence of the very young, in whom he saw reflected his own lost childhood.  There is something wrong or lacking in the novels of

Book review of "Catcher in the Rye" by Holden

837 words - 3 pages different orbit than the rest of the world. Each time Holden extends himself, he is rewarded with rejection, until he is finally driven to almost a schizophrenic state. With his mental health deteriorating, Holden returns to his parents' home, where things are no better for him.Even his young sister, Phoebe, questions his negativism and asks him to name one thing he would like to be. Holden replies that he would like to be "the catcher in the rye

Innocence And The Catcher In The Rye

824 words - 3 pages The innocence of childhood is eventually ripped away from us all. In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield wishes to dedicate his life to preserving the innocence of everyone. Holden wants to save what was so cruelly ripped away from him with the death of his brother. Holden at first believes that he can be "The Catcher in the Rye," but he eventually comes to understand that it is both impossible and wrong to attempt such a

Similar Essays

Protector Of Innocence: Holden Caulfield Of "Catcher In The Rye"

685 words - 3 pages My most memorable character in a fictional piece of literature would probably have to be Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. The novel is one of the most influential books of the 20th century, and has frequently banned by schools, due to its use of profanity and sexuality.The story takes place when Holden, a sixteen year old boy, drops out of his fourth high school and struggles over the death of his younger brother

"The Lost Shepherd." This Essay Examines The Prevalent Theme Of Holden Caulfield As A Protector Of Innocence In "The Catcher And The Rye."

1924 words - 8 pages him; he names his sister herself (Salinger 171). He likes her because she is still young enough to be innocent, and he tries to be her "catcher in the rye" to keep her that way. His concern with protecting her innocence becomes particularly apparent at one point in the novel when Holden thinks he is going to die of pneumonia, and his thoughts immediately turn to his sister and how his death might rob her of her innocence. However, he concludes

Innocence In Holden In The Catcher In The Rye, By J.D. Salinger

1363 words - 5 pages In the book of J.D Salinger The Catcher in the Rye The main character Holden Caulfield does not want to lose his innocence and doesn’t want to go into adulthood. Holden likes to see everything where there were and never change. For example “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and the Eskimo would still be just

How Holden Caulfield, The Protagonist In J.D. Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" Subconcioulsy Protects The Innocence Of Childhood

858 words - 3 pages In J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, spends several days wandering around New York City all alone. During this time, he learns many things about himself. He seems to have some sort of mental problem, but this problem fortunately begins to be less serious by the end of the story. But more interesting than the things he knows about himself are the things he has yet to discover about himself. Holden