Loss Of Innocence In Catcher In The

Rye Essay, Research Paper ?Nature?s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf?s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf.

Rye Essay, Research Paper

?Nature?s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf?s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

?Nothing Gold Can Stay? by Robert Frost exemplifies the loss of

innocence. The poem displays how you are pure and innocent when you are

a child but as you mature, it is impossible to remain this way. In The

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden will soon realize that ?nothing

gold can stay.?

Holden?s main goal in life is to protect children from losing their

innocence. He designates this to the role of catcher in the rye, who catches

children before they fall off the cliff. Symbolically, the cliff represents the

transition from childhood to adulthood. He idolizes his sister Phoebe and

his deceased brother, Allie, because they embody the characteristics of

innocence and virtue, attributes Holden finds ideal. Holden yearns for that

childlike sincerity, instead of the adult world, which seems hypocritical and


Obviously, Holden?s job of catcher in the rye is only a dream, but he

still tries to protect children?s naivet?. While visiting Phoebe?s school, he

notices that some had written ?Fuck you? on the wall. Seeing that drove

him crazy because he knew that if his sister saw the writing, she would

discover what it meant, and therefore part of her innocence would be taken

away. In order to preserve his catcher in the rye role, he wipes off all the

?Fuck you? signs that he can. Here you can see he is a step closer to

realizing that his dream role cannot come true when he says that not even

in a million years could you rub off half the ?Fuck you? signs. This shows

that he is starting to realize that his dream may not be possible.

One good example of Holden?s character comes when he is at the

Museum of Natural History. He comments about how the greatest thing

about the museum is how, although you may come many times over the

years, it never changes. Every exhibit would be exactly the same. The

only thing that changes is you. It makes Holden despondent to think about

Phoebe going to the museum and changing every time she goes. ?Certain

things 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.? These two lines

represent Holden?s character entirely.

The climax of the novel comes when Holden is watching Phoebe on

the carousel in the rain and his dream is symbolically crushed. Phoebe and

all of the children are reaching for a gold ring on the carousel and Holden is

worried she will fall off. ?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?s bad if you say anything to them.? When Holden makes

this comment, you can see his views have changed. He now sees that

children cannot be restricted in this way.

In his quest for an Eden filled with innocence and purity, Holden came

to the conclusion that life must move forward and this means that Holden

cannot hold onto adolescence forever. Although he does have a nervous

breakdown, he now seems able to deal with his problems. He also seems to

understand the word ?phony? now, and no longer uses it. D.B?s English

girlfriend sounds ?affected? but not phony. Holden seems to have grown

and realizes now that not every adult in the world is bad.