Analysis of the Character of Holden in J.D. Salinger’s Book, The Catcher in The Rye
One of the most significant themes in Catcher in the Rye is Holden’s loss of innocence. Holden, as the novel progresses, shows a lack of innocence and an introduction to the “real world”. Holden attempts to grasp back at his previous innocence as a base for his emotions. There are various symbols and events throughout the novel that discuss Holden’s loss of innocence.
One of the most significant of these is the glove belonging to Holden’s deceased brother, Allie. This glove reminds Holden of his youthful fruitfulness and his unending love as a child. As Holden matures and enters adolescence he begins to lose this sense of love. The fact that he went to a boarding school may have contributed to this loss of love due to the fact that he was surrounded by phonies. He starts out the novel by saying “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” This statement was said when he was in a medical center, after the story took place. He does not want to discuss his loving happiness as a child, rather he discuss his downfall in life. He acts as if he is afraid of his previous innocence and doesn’t like to reflect back upon it.
Another example of his innocence would be his interest in the ducks at the pond. He cares about those ducks and consistently asks people about what happens to the ducks in the winter. Despite the fact that probably nobody would know, he still asks them hoping to find an answer even though he knews his asking will get him nowhere.
Another important event would be the young boy singing “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” This reminds Holden of his youth. The boy’s standing in the middle of the road symbolizes his innocence and lack of knowledge due to the danger of cars. Despite the fact that the boy is poor, he is still innocent and doesn’t have to worry about clothing or feeding himself. This is done by the parents concealing him from the real world like Holden in the beginning of his flashback. When Holden heard this he reflected on his past in a depressed manner. It seems as if he missed his past but didn’t want to grasp at it again.
Holden’s growth and steady maturity also lead to Holden’s loss of innocence. When Holden takes his sister, Phoebe, to the carousel, he chooses not to ride the carousel. He states that the carousel is for younger people. This statement shows that Holden has matured out of the carousel. He sits out and instead watches his younger sister on the carousel. Holden says that he will go on the next ride but fails due to his maturity and loss of innocence. Holden remembered his youthful innocence and stress free life as a child. Holden doesn’t ride the carousel proving that he is afraid to step back into his childhood by failing to step onto the carousel.
Holden’s loss of innocence eventually led to his downfall and final emotional collapse. Holden’s speech in the very last chapter, however, shows a chance that Holden may once again regain emotional control and finally take a firm grasp on his youthful innocence.
In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which gives them greater powers of perception but also causes their expulsion […]
Almost all characters in Catch 22 made decisions on behalf of the society, which in return came back to haunt the society. American society had its values and ethics, but […]
The book I am researching is ‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller. It is a book set in WW2 and focuses on the terrifying aspects of the war and how the soldiers […]
Joseph Heller’s most famous novel, Catch-22 was published on November 10, 1961. The novel was so successful the title even got a spot in the dictionary as a catchphrase. Catch-22 […]
There is much literature on the subject of World War II. Catch-22 by Joseph Steller, published in 1961, expressively describes this nerve-racking, gruesome, and turbulent era. The story is centered […]
Written by Joseph Heller in 1961, Catch-22 is an absolute masterpiece of a novel that rivals giants such as Kafka’s Metamorphosis or Susanna Collins’ The Hunger Games even to this […]
When people hear the words war, death, mental health, and pain, the last thing you would probably think about is satire. However in the book Catch 22, author Joseph Heller […]
Ever since its publication in 1951, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye has served as a cornerstone for controversy and debate. It is a story of a teenager growing […]
The World Wars, being some of the most important events in history, changed society and created the modern world we know today. The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, […]
One of the most significant themes in Catcher in the Rye is Holden’s loss of innocence. Holden, as the novel progresses, shows a lack of innocence and an introduction to […]