How Does Holden Caulfield See Himself as 'The Catcher in the Rye'?

1051 Words Aug 13th, 2012 5 Pages
How does Holden Caulfield see himself as ‘The Catcher in the Rye’?

Most teenagers are rebels because they do not know how to deal with the transition from childhood innocence to adult corruption. This is a recurrent behavior displayed by the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – Holden Caulfield. The book maps the three impactful days that played a pivotal role in his life. During this time frame, Holden got thrown out of school, ran away from his school before he was scheduled to leave and went to New York. We do not know Holden’s exact location while he is narrating the story but it is clear that he is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital. Holden expresses his desire to preserve innocence in the world by
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Holden told Phoebe about this one boy at Elkton Hills called James Castle who he liked. James had committed suicide because he had said something about this very conceited boy called Phil Stabile. Phil and his friends tormented James Castle. When James died, he was wearing a turtleneck sweater that he had borrowed from Holden. Holden hardly knew James. He was really surprised that James had asked for his sweater because he was a very quiet boy. All Holden knew was that his name was right ahead of his at roll call. When Phoebe asked him to name one thing that he liked a lot. When he thought about it, all he could think about was those two nuns that he met and James Castle.
While Phoebe was talking to Holden, he was thinking about something else. Suddenly he told Phoebe what he’d like to be. He mentioned the line, ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye’ from a poem by Robert Burns. Holden kept picturing little children playing in a big field of rye with nobody big around except him. And he’d catch everyone if they went over the cliff by mistake. He just wanted to do that the whole day, be ‘the catcher in the rye’. Holden sees himself as the preserver of innocence in the field of rye. He wants to save these small innocent children from falling over and losing their lives.

Holden wants to live in a world where there’s no corruption. He wants to hold onto his
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