Catcher In The Rye Essay, Research Paper
Holden Caufield emphasizes on the loss of innocence in children. He feels that once they lose their innocence, they will soon turn into phonies like everyone else. The loss of innocence is very common in the development in human existence. It is caused by many factors. Past a certain age, children are either forced or led unintentionally into a pathway of corruption. A child is also known to lose their innocence by desires, fantasies, and attention. But once they lose their innocence, they tend to desire to go back and pretend to be young again.
In the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden discusses the importance of innocence in children’s lives. He feels that once a child loses his/her innocence, he/she will soon be leaded to a life of corruption. Holden also focuses on all the phonies in the world. He feels that the phonies are the reason why children lose their innocence. He defines phonies as people who are liars, corrupted, and people who experienced everything. However, he doesn’t realized that he is a phony himself since he has lost his innocence too. Holden thinks that no one loves him so lying to people is a way of telling people that he doesn’t want to be hurt anymore. He is also experiencing the feeling about being all-alone in the corrupted world. He is isolated from everyone thinking that no one is going through what he is going through. He shows how he is lonely by wandering the streets by himself, doesn’t want to talk to people, and by wanting to be loved by someone. He tries to escape the realities of life by remembering the past with his brother Allie, sister Phoebe, and older brother D.B. Holden doesn’t only discuss the innocence and corruption but the way the world changes. He isn’t able to adjust to things that changed but he feels more comfortable in places that never changed at all. For instance, he feels really happy when he sees the Natural Museum of History. Holden gets very mad when he saw the graffiti on the side of his sister’s school. He just don’t want young children to see what he was seeing. He felt like painting over the writing. Holden has many roles in this book. He is also trying to keep children from making the same mistakes that he made in the past. He really wants to help them but he doesn’t realize that he isn’t. Children have to learn what they did wrong so that they know not to do it again.
John Claud wrote an article called, “Just a Routine School Shooting.” Thomas Soloman Jr. was an average 15 year-old boy, who faced the same problems as other teenagers. He attended church and didn’t care much about the Gothic life. He attended Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia. No one died but only six students were injured. Thomas had access to a high0caliber weapon but he chose to use a .22 rifle to shoot up the school. On Thursday morning, Thomas, whom most people called T.J., just got over a break-up with his girlfriend, Stacy Singleton. She spotted T.J. entering the school with his father’s .22 rifle. Students that attended the high school thought that the first few shots were firecrackers. He began firing into the school’s indoor commons. He wasn’t aiming and was holding it down towards the floor. Ryan Rosa, a junior was injured in his leg. The shooting ended quickly. The rifle T.J. used can only hold a dozen rounds without reloading. When he was finished, he was found kneeling on the floor with a powerful .357 magnum revolver. He put it into his mouth trying to commit suicide. Cecil Brinkley, the assistant principal of the school tried to convince T.J. that everything was going to be okay. Cecil Brinkley took the gun out of his mouth while watching him collapse to the floor. While searching T.J.’s room, they found that he had bomb recipes, notes on where to plant explosives at the school, and writings about his despair.
Suzanne Daley writes an article called, “Runaways of 42nd Street: AIDS Begins its Scourge.” Robert has never experienced the whole process of losing his innocence. Starting at the age of 4, he was forced to lose his innocence by being sexually molested by his uncle. Once he got a little older, he was then forced to sleep with a female cousin while his uncle watched. At the age of 13, he ran away from Rikers Island to New York City. At the age of 19, he lost 80 pounds, lost his teeth, and was beginning to lose all hope. He prostituted himself in order to survive. For a period of time, Robert joined a gang and he lived with other member in abandoned buildings. He also had no education. Ms. Able-Peterson, a counselor for Streetworks tried to convince him to go back to school. He only attended a few sessions. He wasn’t able to spell words like “Cat” or even sign his own initials. When he went to the Streetworks office while holding his teeth, they immediately took him to the hospital. After his first hospitalization, he tried to go back to his grandmother’s house. She refused to take him back unless he brought back a note saying that he didn’t have AIDS. He was considering of suicide but he wanted to see his mother before he dies. The day before he died, his mother went to see him in the hospital. By the time she saw him in the hospital, he was already in a coma. Robert’s family gave him a funeral. A dozen of family members attended his funeral and gave him bouquets of flowers. “It was hard for us to watch that,” Ms. Somerville said. “All these people saying, “Oh Robert, oh Robert.’ We looked at this family and we wondered where they had been.”
Masterpieces of American Literature by Frank N. Magil discuss how Holden Caufield isn’t able to establish real conversations between people. Holden feels that no one is able to understand what he is trying to say and feel. His loneliness lead Holden inviting taxicab drivers out for drinks, call people he hasn’t seen in years, and wandering the places all show a sense of isolation. He is very sensitive when it comes to the phonies around him but the one real phony is he. Holden’s actions give a certain reason. They say that he doesn’t want to be hurt by anyone anymore and that he is on a mission to find his true love. Someone he can depend on and to share his feelings with another individual. Holden doesn’t realize that a child is being exposed to all the corruption everyday of their life. It may lead the child to a bad life but many others, it gives them a chance to learn what the world is really made of. Holden is represented as a sixteen year-old boy who finds everything pointless. He is trapped between fantasy and despair. Holden has this fantasy of becoming a catcher in the rye but he is really like one of the children that he wants to save. He is headed for the cliff but there is no one there to catch him and keep him from falling off the cliff. This book expounds the study of alienation and a study of a young boy who feels completely isolated from the world around him. No matter who he ends up with or wherever he goes, he will never feel as if he belongs.
During the time of writing this research paper, I was able to learn and gain more knowledge about the loss of innocence and all the corruption that is being taken place in the world. Catcher in the Rye made me realize that the process of life is to learn from the mistakes and to move on with our lives. The way I look at children is that they don’t know what corruption is until they have fully experienced it. They live an innocent, guilt-free life. Children don’t acknowledge what they are doing because they don’t know what is good and bad. If they were more people like Holden, children would never be able to experience the whole process of growing up from their adolescent lives. But once they past a certain age, they tend to realize more and more corruption that is happening around them. Catcher in the Rye doesn’t only discuss the loss of innocence and the corruption in the world but he also talk and expresses his feelings of loneliness and isolationism. Holden also tries not to tell people too much about himself because he has a fear of being hurt. Holden has a problem trusting people. Especially the one’s he calls “phonies.”
“If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.”
(Page 173, 3rd paragraph from the top)
The Catcher in the Rye is not only about the loss of innocence but the activity of innocence. Holden’s vision of standing in front of the cliff and protecting the playing children from falling symbolizes how much he wants to dedicate his life to keep the children from falling. He is also trying to express that he is one of the children and that he wants someone to catch and protect him from falling off the cliff. Holden has consumed so much corruption but fears that no one is going to keep him from falling. This particular quote defines the title of the book. A catcher in the rye is an occupation that only lives in Holden’s mind. Holden has this fantasy about being a catcher in the rye only to protect children and him. Holden also doesn’t discuss what type of child would he catch. No matter what they have done or did, he just wants to save all types of children. His whole mission is to save them from falling off the cliff. Not really falling off a cliff but just to save them from the whole world.
“You know those ducks in the lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?”
(Page 60, 3rd paragraph from the top)
This quote defines Holden’s difficulty to adjust to the changes around him. He feels comfortable in places where they haven’t changed. For instance, he visited the Natural Museum of History in New York and he gets very happy that the place hasn’t changed since he first went there on a school trip. Holden feels isolated from the world because he feels that no one is going through what he is going through. The Catcher in the Rye doesn’t really focus on the loss of innocence but it discusses how an individual feels about the changes in the world. Holden fears that all the changes will expose all adolescent lives to the loss of innocence and corruption. Holden is one unique character. He expresses many feelings towards people. Holden’s curiosity towards the ducks in Central Park tells us that he isn’t comfortable in this world and that he has many questions to be answered about life.
1. Claud, John. “Just a Routine School Shooting” TIME
May 31, 1999 pages 34-43
2. Daley, Suzanne. “Runaways of 42nd Street: AIDS Begins its Scourge”
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/aids/ May 30, 1998
3. Magil, Frank N. (Editor). Masterpieces of American
New York, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. 1993
4. Salinger, J.D. (Jerome David). Catcher in the Rye
Massachusetts, Little Brown and Company 1951