The Corrruption Of Innocence Essay, Research Paper
The Corruption of Innocence
It has struck some leaving a lasting impact while others just let it go by. Some would see it as corruption, and others see everyday life. I see it as the pure loss of innocence in a world of corruption. This new issue has risen in today s generation leaving no one free of it wrath. This has not been the first we have seen of this. The loss of innocence has been referred to over years by many authors, but now we come to see it in our lives a lot more frequently. According to authors like Emerson and Salinger, who although wrote their pieces so far apart, feel everyday in life the American Character is faced upon with the corruption of innocence that takes away from their unique American Character.
In his book, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger focuses on the theme of innocence for a large amount of time. Holden constantly refers to everyone as being a phony and that they had lost their innocence, which had been corrupted when they matured and were exposed to society. The society had exposed them to the real world and made them think in order to survive they must follow others. Holden goes in part of the book about jobs he likes and starts to describe job of a lawyer and says how they are sincere and try to save innocent lives, but then he goes on to think about how they are probably phonies and only doing it to be hot-shots and makes lots of money to impress society. (Salinger 172) The outcome of his thoughts was that everybody had conformed and followed each society s ideas, which upset Holden because no one was free of corruption accept the children of society, like Ally. Holden sees it as a major issue in the book and serves as a major role of Holden s throughout the book. The issue even leads to the title of the book in the sense that it is named after his supposed job he wishes to under take as a Catcher in the Rye. He wants to be a catcher in a field of rye and little children who catches children from falling off the cliff and being corrupted by society. (Salinger 173) Therefore, in fact the theme of innocence has a significant role in this book.
Another author who also uses the role of innocence and corruption as a major theme is Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Self-Reliance . Emerson goes on for pages about how not to be affected by other s opinions because this will corrupt your ideas. He also says not to conform to others ideas but stay true to your own. One sentence he goes on to say that who is man must be a nonconformist. (Emerson 494) This relates to the role of innocence because the criticism people say about your ideas will only corrupt your way of thinking and lead you to act phony to please others. This leads to the thought that you should not be influenced by what others say because you are your own person and you should stay with your beliefs. He also goes on to say in one paragraph that It is easy in the world to live after the world s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with the independence of solitude which can go on to mean that it is easy to follow others ideas when in the crowd and easy to follow your own ideas when alone, but it is a truly great man who can follow his own beliefs among a crowd. (Emerson 495) This again shows that a truly great man is a man whose ideas and beliefs had not been corrupted by the thoughts of society, yet a person whose innocence had been preserved in a sea of corruption.
Ultimately, when we look at both texts and how the authors, Emerson and Salinger, use the role of innocence as a major part we can see that they both have strong opinions on it. So when we search for why is innocence such an important issue in the American character who better to find the answer from but these two who themselves show such a preserved innocence in our sea of corruption. Considering that in their writings they use the constant idea of being yourself and the preservation of innocence, which is the only defense you bare from a corrupted society of phonies. The authors have shown that they know about corruption and its effect on society and the American Character. The issue of innocence is so important to the American Character because the traits of the character are primarily based upon innocence and do not deal in terms of reality. If the innocence of the American Character were lost then all of the American Character would be lost, because then American would not hold true to its values but hold the values of others. This would totally bring down the view of the American Character, which is why innocence is such an important issue addressed by Emerson and Salinger.