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The Catcher In The Rye

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English Literature Coursework The Catcher In The Rye "Holden Escapes Corruption Through Childhood And Innocence." Discuss Holden Caulfield was in conflict with the society he was living in. He regarded it as corrupted and totally insincere; and therefore he attempted to escape from falling into this corruption of adulthood, by holding onto his childhood innocence. However he was unsuccessful in his strong sense of desire to prevent this inevitable fall into adulthood. Later in the novel after coming to terms with this fact, he developed a new desire to act as ' The Catcher In The Rye' and protect the innocent children who have yet not faced the wicked society of adulthood. There are a number of ways in which Holden was trying to hold onto his childhood and innocence. For example Holden struggled to maintain his virginity. His virginity was a crucial sign of his boyhood innocence, which was related to his dead brother, Allie and childhood. If he had let go of that then he would also be regarded as corrupted like his contemporaries. Holden wanted to prevent himself from entering into the adult world which sex strongly revolved around. Sex was something that fascinated him but also repelled him at the same time. ...read more.


"Every time I'd get to the end of a block.... I'd say to him, 'Allie, don't let me disappear'....When I'd reach the other side.... I'd thank him." (Chapter 25) Also the Image of Allie, lying alone in the cemetery in the rain while everyone else rushed for cover, illustrated clearly that Holden did not consider his brother dead at all (Chapter 20). Holden's deep love for Allie was due to the fact that the dead by would always be eleven years old in his memory and therefore can never be corrupted by the world. The same applied to James Castle; a boy who used to get bullied at school, and for this reason he committed suicide in desperation rather than give in to social pressures. It was the innocence of children that Holden loved to preserve. When a child becomes an adult he looses the purity of youth and is corrupted by the world of grown-ups. Holden's deep fear of coming to terms with the adult world was revealed in his love of children and in his idealization of the state of childhood. Children and particularly his sister, Phoebe, were the only people with whom he could make any genuine contact. ...read more.


"If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible" (Chapter 25). He was also aware, in the tomb in the museum, where he had hoped to find peace, that no place was free from the taint of the vulgar; not even his own gravestone. He was therefore now subconsciously aware that there was no escape from the world. Holden challenged reality at his best attempt to escape corruption through means of childhood and innocence, but he had failed. Holden as implying in his name, 'Hold-on,' attempted to hold onto children and their thoughts such as phoebe, Allie, James castle, Jane Gallagher and also his virginity which were symbolic to him of his childhood and innocence. However time made him come out of fantasy and confront the true world which he could not deny or delay. Everyone Holden met and all his contemporaries such as Ackley, Stradlater, Sally, Sunny, Luce and even Mr Antolini were according to him, corrupted and insincere. He was in deep fear that he was magnetically being pulled into that society which he disliked. On the whole, his eventual nervous breakdown was a result of his inability to adapt himself to the aspirations and expectations of American Society. ...read more.

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