Innocence Catcher in the Rye

Topics: Want, Childhood, J. D. Salinger Pages: 3 (1132 words) Published: May 22, 2012
The Loss of Innocence
The concept of innocence is one that is applied to childhood. Children, for example, are innocent because they have not been tainted by the idea that the world is not as it seems to be. But, as children grow up and mature fully into adults, the loss of this pure quality of innocence begins to be noticed in a person’s life. As this awareness comes forth, it shows that life is not always easy, it is complicated and there will be tough moral decisions that have to be made. Many try to hold dear to their innocence, as shown in the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and the lyrics of the songs, “Forever Young” and “Men of Snow”.

In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden views life as either the innocence of childhood or the phoniness and cruelty of adulthood. He wants to preserve innocence so he dedicates his life to protecting childhood innocence. In Chapter two Mr. Spencer tells Holden, “Life is game that one plays according to the rules” (). Holden does not believe that life is a game he believes that life is dictated by adults. These adults are phony and cruel and he does not want to follow their rules. Holden feels that by staying a child he will be protected by his innocence from the adult world. Holden carries his view of preserving innocence to the children in the book. He wants to protect them at all costs and this is revealed when he wants to be the catcher in the rye field. Holden tells Phoebe, “What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they’re running and they don’t look out where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them” (Salinger 173). Holden is talking about protecting the children so they will not experience the cruelty of the adult world. If he catches the children before they fall he will keep them in their childhood world and their lives will not be tainted by phoniness and cruelty.

The song “I Go Back to May 1937”, by Sharon Olds,...
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