Catcher In The Rye Analysis

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How long is it appropriate to “remain a child”? By writing The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger proposes this question to any reader. Throughout the course of this book we see the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, navigate his life after his expulsion from his school. Along this adventure, Holden realizes that the real world is full of “phonies”. He does not like this in any way, because it means that everyone around him, including himself, is going to eventually transform into a phony. By the end of this book, Holden’s ultimate desire is to be a “catcher in the rye” (Salinger 225), which is a protector of innocence. However, once entering an elementary school, Holden realizes that some of the kids are already corrupted, as the word “F--k you” is etched onto the walls of the school multiple times. By scenes such as the once described above, J.D. Salinger allows the reader to understand that, while everyone must mature at their due time, the preservation of innocence is crucial to anyone; this we see in the ways he connects Holden with innocence: repeated scenes of Jane Gallagher and Holden’s anxiety around the topic of sex. If one stops to think for a second, Jane Gallagher is one of the most important symbols of innocence throughout the entire book. At the beginning of the book, Holden tells his roommate that his date, who is Jane, would play checkers with him as a child. Holden then says, “She [would] get [the kings] all lined up in the back row” (41). This is an unusual

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