Growing Pains “Where has my heart gone An uneven trade for the real world Oh I... I want to go back to Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all” ( Evanescence) This rings true to everyone who hears it because there is beauty in the simplicity of a child’s life. Even when transitioning from stages in life, the wanting to go back to the days of purity is an inevitable feeling. In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger uses motifs, symbols, and extended metaphors to convey the theme that innocence can not be prevented. Saliger uses motifs which allows the reader to understand vulnerability from being shown into the adult world through the use of the hunting hat and estrangement from his surroundings by the migration of the ducks. …show more content…
J.D. Salinger uses antithetical symbols to highlight the message that childhood purity cannot be prolonged. In the museum Holden admires, “ in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move” (Salinger 134). He stares longingly at the class cases and wishes he could have put himself in that case along with the child he feels he needs to protect. This enclosure represents closure and stability for him. As Holden wrestles with with wanting Phoebe to stay innocent forever, “the carousel started, and I watched her go round and round. All the kids tried to grap for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it is bad to say anything to them” (Salinger 208). Holden shows improvement in maturity and in impulse control when he makes the deliberate decision to let her go by herself. He usually does what he want to do. He rarely thinks before doing anything, but he realizes that she is growing up and he can not stop her from seeing and feeling the corruption of the world. Throughout The Catcher in the Rye extended metaphors are used to express the importance of the overall message. Holden feels as though he must preotct the kids from the corruptions he sees everyday:“I
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Innocence is a key part of a child’s life as the child has not yet experienced the cruelty, violence and immorality of the adult world. In the text The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, as a result of Holden’s fear of the adult world, this leads to his desire to protect innocence, ultimately leading to his mental breakdown. The novel shows a teenage boy’s desire to protect innocence which leads to his mental instability in attempting to deal with a world that clashes with his ideals. He only finds interest in children's innocence because they have yet not entered the phony adult world. The museum of natural history, which is unchanging, shows Holden’s desire to protect and preserve the innocence of children. Holden attempts to erase profanities
Throughout the story Holden emphasizes his love for childhood innocence. In a passage he says “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the golden ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.” (Salinger 211) This immediately points to his affinity for innocence and not having the limits of being and adult. The
The narrator and protagonist, Holden, in J.D Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye, flunks out of school and finds himself walking carelessly around New York city. At 17-years-old, Holden is stuck in the middle of his transition from childhood to adulthood. His use of the word “pervert” exposes his underlying fears of expressing sexuality and trying to simplify what it means to be imtimate. Through these symbols we see an important transition from desiring childhood to having a realization only an adult could have
In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger tells a story of a young boy, Holden, who never quite understood his stance on life. Throughout the novel, Holden struggles to adapt to the inevitable transition into adulthood, often worrying more about others than himself. In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger uses connotative diction, repetition, and specific diction to convey Holden’s struggle of accepting life changes that led him to becoming mentally unstable. To start off, Salinger illustrates Holden’s nature by using connotative diction.
Ergo, the symbolism that is shown throughout Holden’s story are symbols that are proven to be relevant today due to the fact that they are general situations life throws to one. Unconformity, loneliness, and uncertainty are all uniquely experienced by all therefore; reoccurring in lives and relevant to today. The symbols in The Catcher in the Rye are present symbols of the days of our
J.D. Salinger illustrates how one reacts to adult challenges with efforts to maintain innocence. As humans our main initial instincts are either to engage or run away when given a challenge. Holden’s initial response to adulthood approaching him was to fight it. The museum is an example of an important place to Holden as it is one of the few places he can rely on to stay the same. “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (121). To Holden the museum is serves as like an escape from the complicated adult life of reality. This idea gives the reader the
When his visiting Phoebe’s school he discovers crude language written on the wall. Holden immediately thinks of ‘Phoebe and all the other little kids’ and how he would hate them to see the foul words. This proves that Holden has a natural protective instinct and symbolically takes on the persona of ‘catcher in the rye’ as he wipes the words off the wall. Holden wants to shield the children from seeing the obscenities of adulthood prematurely, just as the catcher wants to protect children from falling off the ‘cliff’. At the end of the novel Holden appears to have more acceptance of the idea of growing up. As he watches Phoebe on the carousel he deduces that sometimes you ‘have to let them fall’ (referring to the children on the carousel.). Holden now understands that growing up is inevitable and fighting it is useless. However, regardless of this new found clarity, he still obsesses about living in an uncomplicated world. He delights in the fact that the carousel goes ‘round and round’ because it continues to fuel his fantasies of staying in one place forever. It would seem that even though he has made progress, Holden still struggles with letting go of the life he wishes were
In the novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger uses a variety of symbols to support the thematic idea that maturation and the loss of innocence are an inescapable rite of passage for all of humanity. Three significant symbols that signify the importance of alteration and losing one’s purity to become more suited to live in the real world are the ducks in the lagoon of Central Park, the “Catcher in the Rye”, and the carousel and the gold ring. Furthermore, these three symbols hold a significant meaning for the main protagonist, Holden Caulfield as well.
“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole.” (cite3). This quote represents Holden’s innocence as he enjoys the little things in life. He reflects on no matter what else he is going through in life, the small things in life stayed the same. “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. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway.” (cite4). Holden wishes certain events in his life wouldn’t happen. He also hopes he could keep the good memories the same. This shows how his innocence is constantly changing throughout the story.
In the Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, there are many items of symbolism. The symbolism in the story keeps Holden sain. Some items of symbolism are Holden's’ brothers baseball mit, the schools Holden gets kicked out of, and the carousels gold rings. The baseball mit and the carousels’ gold rings are positive representation of symbolism, whereas the schools, are negative.
Many novels cannot be fully understood and appreciated if only read for face value, and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is no exception. The abundant use of symbolism in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is of such significance that it “proclaims itself in the very title of the novel” (Trowbridge par. 1). If the symbolism in this novel is studied closely, there should be no astonishment in learning that The Catcher in the Rye took approximately ten years to write and was originally twice its present length. J.D. Salinger uses copious amounts
It causes him to be even more depressed facing this issue, but he needs to solve it. Similarly when Phoebe is on the carousel, Holden is worrying about her falling, but it causes him to recognize that “the thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring you have to let them do it, they fall off, they fall off." (211). This causes Holden to understand that this is life and he must accept everything. One might object that this does not cause Holden to mature. However, to Holden from how he despises the society and avoiding it to now being about to at least admit this issue, not avoiding it and later start to go to school. He might not fully mature, but it is a huge step for him to becoming mature. Children will grow up including Holden and follow the way life works no matter what. Hence, Phoebe induces Holden 's way of viewing the world. Hence, the relationship with Phoebe changes Holden 's perspective of the world.
Holden in The Catcher in the Rye loses his innocence at an early age; the author, J.D. Salinger uses symbolism to show the idea that innocence is something that will be lost and cannot be preserved.
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help develop and inform the text's major themes. One of the recurring themes in the novel The Catcher in the Rye is the omnipresent theme of death. It could be argued that the novel is not only full of references to death in the literal sense, physical disappearance, but also in the metaphorical, taking the form of spiritual disappearance, something which Holden often focuses on, along with the actual theme of mortality. It is possible that this occurs because of his reluctance to interact with the living world. As his means of escaping from the reality he despises, his mundane thoughts and the “phoniness” that he is surrounded by. Holden becomes increasingly attracted
In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger discusses the ideas of alienation and isolation. He notes that if one is unable to keep up with society they lose touch. Salinger portrays alienation and isolation through literary devices such as symbolism. Some of the symbolic features use in the novel is Holden’s red hunting hat which shows Holden’s uncommon desire compared to society’s desires. Another significant symbolic feature is the catcher in the rye; this represents Holden’s idea of protecting children from maturing as adults and facing reality. Another literary device is tone, although Holden seems preoccupied, he constantly tries to seek companionship throughout the book. J.D. Salinger also portrays irony, it is ironic that Holden calls the people around him loners and phonies when he, himself is a loner and a phony that refuses to accept taking on responsibilities and growing up. The literary devices used in this novel, further support Salinger’s recurring theme of alienation and isolation.