The Theme Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

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Josh Kraskin English 9R Period 1 Catching Innocence People who are fearful of growing up often have a need to keep things and those around them linear and innocent. Holden Caufield, the main in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, has an obsession with retaining innocence. Holden is fearful of growing up, and feels that by keeping children unknown to the realities of life, he may be able to avoid them. Innocence is a theme that is portrayed through out the novel as an insecure and almost immature need of Holden’s to protect not only those he cares about, but also himself. The root of Holden’s obsession with innocence can be traced back to the death of his younger brother Allie. He regarded his younger sibling as a kind, loving, and highly intelligent boy. It is this love and admiration that drove Holden to a rage in which he destroyed all the windows in his garage with his bare fists. Because Holden is still tormented about the death of his brother, he constantly tries to protect those around him. By…show more content…
He enlightens the reader with his idea when he says, “[…] I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye […] and nobody’s around – nobody big […] except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff […] I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff,” (173). Although this may portray Caufield’s idea of how he wants to spend his life, it also symbolizes his need for innocence. The field of rye represents childhood and the innocence that comes with it, while falling off of the cliff symbolizes maturity and learning the hardships of life. This is why Holden wants to keep the children from falling – or growing up – to secure their innocence. This is significant because what Holden wants to do with his life is really to preserve the innocence of people he cares

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