Examples Of Childhood In Catcher In The Rye

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“The Catcher in the Rye” is about a sixteen year old teenager talking about the story of his mental break down. It is really impressive because J.D. Salinger’s writing style is very direct as if Holden is talking exclusively to me and telling me about his struggles between childhood and adulthood. “The Catcher in the Rye” illustrates Holden’s hope to protect childhood innocence from adult phoniness.
I like how Salinger shows the phoniness of the adult world. “Phony” is probably the most used word in this novel. It means fake. Holden always uses this word to describe adulthood. In Chapter 22, he criticizes people around him as phony. “It was one of the worst schools I ever went to. It was full of phonies. And mean guys.” (Salinger, 167). Although Holden is phony himself and doesn’t self-reflect, in a sense, his judgement
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Holden uses innocence to describe the kids surrounding him. Phoebe and Allie stand out as examples. “‘I like Allie,’ I said. ‘And I like doing what I’m doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking and thinking about stuff, and ---’” (Salinger, 171). In Holden’s mind, only children are innocent in this world. Children don’t have sexual desire; they are not fake. However, Allie’s death due to leukaemia destroys his belief in childhood innocence. He thinks that pure kids never die, but his brother’s death goes against his thoughts. To be able to deal with his sadness logically, he always thinks that his brother will come back just like the ducks in Central Park. Holden protects his belief in childhood innocence through the hope that the ducks will eventually return. What’s more, he also mentions he wishes to be the catcher in the rye in his conversation with Phoebe. He imagines children running around in a rye field. He says he would like to catch children before they fall from the end of the cliff. This is symbolism for Holden trying to protect childhood innocence from adulthood
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