Preservation of Innocence In The Catcher in the Rye Essay

545 Words 3 Pages
Themes in literary works are central, recurring ideas or messages that allow us to understand more deeply about the characters. It is a perception about life or human nature that is often shared with the reader. In The Catcher in the Rye, there are several themes that can be found in the words and actions of the narrator, Holden Caulfield. The dominating theme in this novel is the preservation of innocence, especially of children. We can see this throughout the novel, as Holden strives to preserve innocence in himself and others.
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s outlook in life is either the innocence of childhood or the cruelty of adulthood. He believes that the innocence of childhood is very valuable and it should be protected from
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Holden is talking about protecting the children so they will not experience the cruelty of the adult world. If he catches the children before they fall, he will preserve their innocence and keep them from the cruelties of the adult world. Holden’s only desire and goal in life is to be the catcher in the rye because is the only job that is appealing to him where he can shows his love and protection for childhood innocence, “That’s all I’d do all day. I‘d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be” (173). Holden does not want adolescents to become adults because he believes that adults are corrupt and he wants to protect them from this corruptness. This is seen when Holden tries to erase the swearing words on the walls of an elementary school that Phoebe attends. Holden angrily tells us, “… I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody'd written 'Fuck you' on the wall... I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant…” (201). Holden was angered because this proves that the innocent world of children has already been corrupted by the profanities of the adult world. In addition, profanity in such places like an elementary school distresses him because he associates it with Phoebe, little kids, and innocence. Thus, their innocence is tainted by these profanity words on the walls. He does not feel comfortable allowing small children to be
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