Preserving Innocence in J.D. Salinger´s The Catcher in the Rye

Decent Essays

Growing up is a complicated and emotional phase that everyone has to experience. Our innocence is like a mask that blinds us from perceiving life as it really is. As we grow up, we lose our sense of innocence and begin to see the world differently. In the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a teenage boy who fears maturity for himself and the children around him. The theme of innocence is found throughout the novel, as Holden struggles to protect the innocence of children from the superficiality and shallowness of the adult world. The theme of innocence is illustrated when Holden visits the Museum of Natural History. Holden’s thoughts at the museum show that he is overwhelmed by the change and complexity of growing up. Holden enjoys being at the museum because it is a consistent and predictable place, and he knows what to expect every time he visits it. “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move” (121). Holden wishes that life could be just like the museum, where all the figures and displays stayed exactly the same. If life never changes, people would never have to grow up, and children would be able to remain innocent forever. “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (122). In this quote, Holden is specifically referring to children. According to him, all adults are phony and

Get Access