Children In The Novel Catcher in the Rye
In Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, there are variations of symbols that are used to describe Holden Caulfieldr’s agony which interconnects with children. Children for Holden is like a piece of happiness because of their innocence. One way this is unambiguous is by children in the novel. Holden positions himself as a protector of childrenr’s innocence in the places they inhabit because he doesnt want society to corrupt the kids like how they did to him.
Holden aiding the girl, by tightening up her skates, shows he has a soft spot for kids. Holden goes out in search for Phoebe but finds this girl, about Phoeber’s age, having a tough time tightening her skates. So Holden decides to help: She was having a helluva time tightening her skate. She didnt have any gloves on or anything and her hands were all red and cold(155). Holden sympathizes the girl when he saw her hands were all red and cold(155). This shows Holden sympathizes with the girl because he knows that society is insufficient in shielding her from danger. At the same time, Holden says, God, I love it when a kidr’s nice and polite when you tighten their skates for them or something(155). The girl respected Holden for helping her tighten her skates proves that Holden wants to save that innocence before she has a problem rise up. Kids have an existing virtuous self which Holden likes and wants to stay that way.
In addition, Holdenr’s response to inappropriate wall graffitis implies his concern for Phoebe and the children to losing their innocence. Holden goes to Phoeber’s school to give her note, so he could meet Phoebe in the Museum of Natural History, in order to return her lent money. Holden sits down after feeling nauseous, he finds a disturbing message: Somebodyd written, F You on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it…theyd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days(260). Holden says, theyd all think about it and maybe even worry(260) conveys a sign of fear in Holden about the aftermath of influence caused by that specific word, that will change their lives for good. Furthermore, Holden tries to erase the f-word in a different stairwell: I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on…It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “F you” signs in the world. It’s impossible (262). Scratched, a mark on a surface with a sharp object, which cant be removed. In this context even if Holden tries his best to remove all the ?F yous in the world, he cant, because some way or another the word can come back and influence the kids. This shows that Holden is fearful of society changing the fate of their children either way, which makes Holden position himself as a protector of childrenr’s innocence.
Lastly, the mention of ?The Catcher in the Rye fantasy proves Holden attempting to ?catch the kids before they lose their innocence. The time where Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to be, Holden says, What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff” I mean if theyre running and they dont look where theyre going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them(224-5). Holden says,…I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff which proves that he makes sure that certain boundaries dont stop their innocence to flourish, that connects with the idea of society trying not to take away their childlike innocence. Moreover, Holden conversation with Phoebe reveals Holdenr’s state of mind: It is ?If a body meets a body coming through the rye! I didnt know it by then, though. ?I thought it was ?If a body catch a body,(224). When holden thought it was If a body catch a body, Holden had this perception where ?catch meant saving someone, instead of holding something. This conveys that he wants to be a guardian of their innocence and not let it get takeover by society. It is all his distress which are caused by his own experiences.
Overall, Holden sees himself as a savior of childrenr’s innocence, which stems from how he is treated by society. Holden wanted to be a protector of childrenr’s innocence because he doesnt want them to experience the same path which Holden ended up in. In the real world, such situations are common because some way or another there is a catcher in your life, where they guide you and support you on the right path.
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