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The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
“The Catcher in the Rye” highlights the value of innocence. Holden is a teenage
boy who finds himself caught between the corruptedness of growing up, and the beauty of
staying innocent. Holden’s relationship with Phoebe is unparrallel to his relationship with
anybody else. She is the most innocent and pure person to him because he understands
her, and she too loves him. Holden’s desire to be a “Catcher in the Rye” explains his
wanting to protect innocence. To catch those who are innocent before they fall ( or grow
up) into corruption and adulthood. Holden’s attitude toward the adult world derrives from
what he sees people selling out on from his eyes. He notices the way people unfairly treat
each other and feels that they are fake. To make matters worse he finds himself staying in
New York for a few days long enough to evaluate the type of people he dispises and to
appreciate the people he loves.
Phoebe is Holden’s young sister. They have a close connection and love eachother
very much. She is young but in Holden’s eyes she is much more intellgent than people her
age. She is straightforward and honest. Holden feels that he can talk to her without getting
a phony response from her and is fascinated with her personality and in turn wants to
protect her from the world that he knows as being corrupt. There is a point when she
wants to run away with him but he doesnt allow it. As she insists he screams at her and
hurts her feelings, causing her to get angry and begin to ignore him. As time passes they
find themselves in a zoo and talking. This shows the close relationship that they have. Also
she symbolizes the very thing that is trying to preserve in everything when he notices how
innocent she looks having fun on the Caroussel.
Holden’s desire to be a “Catcher in the Rye” comes from his wanting to preserve
and protect the innocence that children have just like a Catcher protects children from
falling off a cliff . He feels that this innocence is very valuble and shouldnt be tampered
with or even stolen by the cruelties and dirtiness of the adult world which he has seen. He
tries to protect people like Jane Gallagher and Phoebe by not telling Phoebe anything
harsh, or by not calling Jane Gallagher for fear that she might have changed.
Holden resents the adult world for being fake and insensitive to other people. Its a
world of selfishness and un- authentic behaviors that Holden finds disgusting. He sees all
the phony people who treat people according to status, or looks. He notices hypocrits and
liars. Whats funny is that he himself is a liar, he admitts it and is in a sense proud of it . He
lies to amuse himself which brings me to think that he is already growing up and loosing
his innocence without even knowing it.
“The Catcher in the Rye” points out alot of things in every day life that people
disregard or simply dont notice because they are too involved in their own affairs. The
world just appears to be a big lie in the eyes of Holden Caulfield and as a Catcher, wants
to stop it from sucking in the pure. Phoniness always wins in the end which is deppressing.
I can honestly say that although I didnt like the book all that much, I did realize that I
share alot of Holden’s views. I think I would be naive if I didnt.
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Holden Caulfield, J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden, Innocence, Phoebe Buffay, Caul, Phoebe
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