• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Holden Caulfield: Protector of Innocence In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Curtis Scott Miller Honors American Literature 21 April 2003 Holden Caulfield: Protector of Innocence In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye the main character, Holden Caulfield, is introduced to the reader as a troubled teenager who desperately wants to hold on to his youthful innocence. Because Holden is constantly faced with the harsh realities of adulthood and the world, he feels compelled to protect innocence. These obligatory feelings stem from the loss of his younger brother Allie who died of leukemia at the age of eleven when Holden was thirteen. Not only Holden, but everyone saw Allie as terrifically intelligent, sensitive, and insightful. Allie is Holden's ideal of innocence personified. Holden encounters loss for the first time in the moment that he loses Allie and not only does Allie's death trigger Holden's devolution, but it also fuels his crusade to protect and preserve innocence, thus realizing the inevitable disillusionment of the innocent. ...read more.

Middle

It is experienced during Holden's trip to Mr. Spencer's house after crossing a road. Holden feels like he is "sort of disappearing (Salinger 5). It is this sensation that drives Holden to begin sprinting to his destination to save himself. He again experiences fear while walking the streets of New York. "Every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam curb, I had this feeling that I'd never get to the other side of the street" (Salinger197). Holden panics at the possibility and looks to his dead brother for protection: "Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie" (Salinger 198). Though Holden does not realized what fuels his terror, Salinger uses this phobia to show the reader Holden's anxiety when he feels his mortality or innocence threatened. Holden's fear of and fascination with disappearance is also seen in his curiosity of the winter habits of the ducks in the lagoon. Where do the ducks go is an ongoing symbol in the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

The death of his brother proved to be one of the most traumatic events in Holden's life and is the catalyst for his resistance to inevitable disillusionment. Fighting both the phoniness of the world and even his own budding sexuality, Holden attempts to prevent the inevitable. Only through his relationship with Phoebe and the epiphany at the carrousel that Holden finally comprehends that he cannot save the innocent; they must be allowed to take life's risks and reach for the golden ring. In this same way Holden must approach his own changes. Holden's journey comes to a close as he continues to watch the children on the merry-go-round. At the moment in the rain, he experiences inexplicable joy because he is allowed to partake in a moment so pure that it is completely untouched or contaminated by the ugliness of the world. Salinger ends Holden's story on a hopeful note, showing how Holden's odyssey has altered his view on life. Where previously there was scorn for the phoniness of the world, Holden expresses a longing for Stradlater, Maurice and Ackley, its representatives. Scott4 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level J.D. Salinger section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the view that in "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and "Catcher in ...

    4 star(s)

    which really annoys Holden and he constantly refers to it throughout the chapter as 'that crumby old razor'. Holden picks up on things that most people wouldn't, again showing how fussy he is. This fussiness could add to his unreliability, as we don't get a true picture of characters such as Stradlater but only Holden's exaggerated view.

  2. Peer reviewed

    'Holden's quest is an impossible one; it is a quest for the preservation of ...

    4 star(s)

    Nevertheless, 'Catcher' was an instant success among students and young people. This was because many adolescents could identify with the teenage narrator. Holden stands up for young people everywhere who felt themselves beset by pressure to grow up quicker and live their lives according to the rules of a superficial society.

  1. a letter to holden caulfield

    I cant blame my mom though because she's dead now. Though, she used to narrate bedtime stories based on ethical values, and I believe, would continue her efforts, rather differently, if she was alive. Had I not read your book I'd probably be a wimpy mama's boy today if she'd live on.

  2. A Rebel on His Way to Adulthood : 'Me, myself and I' vs 'The ...

    As Lomazoff remarks 'Holden does not tilt against the entire adult world, for he knows that some decent citizens still remain, nor does he loathe his worst contemporaries, for he often hates to leave them.14 According to another critic, Peterson, he, 'despite all the realism that he is supposedly depicted,

  1. An Analysis on the Relevance of J.D. Salingers The Catcher in the Rye in ...

    The truth of the matter, however, is that Tom is extremely similar to Holden, in that they both have emotional and complicated lives as teenagers filled with angst and discord. The fact that Catcher is referred to so much in this novel that is half a century newer shows that J.D.

  2. Theme in The Catcher in the Rye.

    The reminiscent, nostalgic mood throughout the book is most clearly seen in passages such as this one, where concrete nouns dominate. Through these strong images, Salinger shows that Holden is capable of being both sensitive and perceptive when reflecting on his early childhood. Good Quotes "Life is a game, boy.

  1. How does JD Salinger use the character of Holden Caulfield to explore the issues ...

    Wednesday" when he is supposed to break up from his boarding school. Holden did this for several reasons; one of them being the fact that he failed most his subjects and didn't want to go home straight away, but another being that he hated Pency, not necessarily because it treated him badly, but because he didn't fit in.

  2. The Catcher In The Rye

    Additionally, when James Castle committed suicide, Holden wished he weren't in the shower so he could protect and prevent the death, and loss of a child (Kallen 55). Moreover, Holden found that society had tainted innocence at the Museum of Natural History, and at Phoebe's school, where he found " you" scrawled across the walls.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work