The Catcher In The Rye—essay Exploring The “hidden Meanings” Essay, Research Paper
The Catcher in the Rye
From the time children that children come out of their mother?s womb, they are caught. At playgrounds, mother?s hands are always outstretched; ready to catch their young ones incase they fall off a swing or a seesaw. The parents protect their children until they think that they are old enough to fend for themselves and grow up. Holden Caulfield, however, wanted to protect all innocent people, and protect them forever, never letting them move on. He couldn?t think of anything better that being the catcher in the rye.
When Allie died, time froze for Holden. He slept in the garage that night, and punched out all of the glass windows. When he broke the windows, in his mind the glass came back together and formed glass cases. He created a museum in his head, just like the one from his childhood (the Museum of Natural History) where everything always stayed the same, only Holden?s museum contained people.
The museum would be used to protect the innocent. In the glass cases Holden would definitely put the two nuns he met, Sunny, Mrs. Morrow, Jane, Mr. Spencer, his sister Phoebe, and most importantly, his dead brother, Allie. In fact, the museum was built mainly for Allie. He would put Allie in the museum because he couldn?t accept the fact that he was dead, and needed to keep him alive in his mind. Holden than began living in two times at once. In his mind, he was always in 1946, the summer before Allie died. However, he was physically in the present, were he didn?t do too well because his heart wasn?t there.
Allie and Holden had a special connection. Holden told a story about how when he was golfing he felt Allie?s presence 150 yards away. When he turned around he saw Allie just standing there looking at him. ?That?s the kind of red hair he had.? Perhaps Allie and Holden had such a deep connection that Holden could feel Allie?s presence beyond death itself. This made him start talking to Allie when he was upset, and obsessing about his death.
Holden saw Allie at the same level of Jesus. When talking about Jesus he could easily switch to Allie. However, the summer before Allie died, in Holden?s mind he betrayed his brother. Allie wanted to go hunting with Holden and his friend Bobby, but Holden told him to go home because he was too young. Later, Holden felt as though he betrayed Allie, and that made him Judas. He couldn?t seem to get rid of the guilt of not letting Allie go hunting with him.
When Holden was walking down the street, very depressed, he saw a young boy skipping in front of him singing, ?when a body catch a body comin? through the rye.? This song lifted Holden out of his depression and was significant to him because catching someone is a form of protection, and he felt that it was his job to protect people from truth and from growing up. At this time an idea formed in his mind. He decided to be the catcher in the rye.
?I keep picturing all of these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody?s around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I?m standing at the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go off the cliff. I mean if they?re running and they don?t look where they?re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That?s all I?ll 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 really want to be. I know it?s crazy.?
A child falling off the cliff represented them growing up. Holden wanted to keep them from growing up and keep them in the field of rye. He felt the need to do what only God could do and keep them young forever. One of his problems was that he could not come to realize that this was impossible.
Phoebe told Holden about a movie she saw the night he came to visit her called ?The Doctor.? In it, a doctor put a blanket over a crippled baby?s face and killed it. The reason he did this was so that the baby didn?t have to face a life of pain, but the doctor went to jail anyway because a doctor is not supposed to take children away from God. When Holden heard about this movie, it helped him to realize that he?s not supposed to do the will of God either.
Mr. Antolini gave Holden some advice as well. He sensed that Holden was searching for something that society couldn?t give him, and advised him to move on and forget about whatever he was searching for. Otherwise, Holden would be headed for a fall, because when you keep trying to make something happen and never give up, yet it is impossible to achieve, you?ll go insane, and later may even die.
When Holden was in Phoebe?s elementary school, he saw some obscenity scribbled on the wall in black ink. He wiped it off, and was pleased with himself for protecting the school children from seeing it. Walking a little bit further, he saw some more profanity scribbled on the wall, but this time carved in with a knife. Holden realized that he couldn?t get it off. A little bit later in the Museum of Modern Art Holden saw more bad words on the wall, this time written in red crayon (a child could?ve done it). Holden concluded that it would take forever to wipe the profanity off all of the walls in the world, and he just couldn?t do it. He was so sad about this, that in the bathroom he passed out. When he got up, he felt better and concluded that it?s just too much work to keep kids children forever. He needed to go on with his life.
While in the museum, Holden met two children looking for the mummies. He took them into the dark corridor that led to the ?tomb? to see them, but then one child got scared and ran away in fear. ?He?s got a yellow streak a mile wide,? the child left standing with Holden says. The braver child then followed after his brother, saying ?so long? to Holden. The kid who ran away reminded Holden of himself, a coward. Holden saw Allie in the one who left second, braver and smarter, always doing the talking. ?Allie? had just bid farewell to Holden, and the connection broke between them. To Holden, it symbolized that it was time for him to leave his brother behind him.
During the next scene at the carousel, Holden loosened his grip on Phoebe, and allowed her to grow up. If he still played the role of the catcher in the rye in his mind, he?d have advised her not to reach for the golden ring and risk falling. However, he let her. At this time, it began to rain. The rain was washing away Holden?s past and allowing him to start anew. Also, his fist didn?t hurt, so he wasn?t feeling the after pain of Allie?s death anymore. Furthermore, his hunting hat was only being used for protection from the rain, his people hunt was over. It seemed that Holden finally realized that he couldn?t protect Phoebe, children, the innocent forever. He needed to say goodbye to Allie as well. In his mind, Holden broke his glass cases and let everybody free. He realized that children and innocence are like soap bubbles floating in the breeze. At some point they must pop.