Protection Children From Becoming Adults in the Book
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger the protagonist Holden Caulfield is a 16 year old boy who despises adults and never want him or other children to become one. Holden lost his younger brother Allie who died of leukemia at the age of 13. He is very upset because his younger brother didn’t get to live his life because he died so young. Salinger uses the Catcher in the Rye to represent Holden as a hero trying to protect children from becoming adults, the one thing Holden is afraid to accept as a person.
The fact that Holden wants to be the hero and prevent the children from falling off the cliff shows that he wants to prevent children from reaching adulthood, and will use any means necessary to do so. Holden has this fantasy of him being the catcher in the rye. He believes that it is his job to save these children falling into their doom by becoming adults. Holden says Anyway I keep picturing all these kids playing some game in this big field of a rye I am standing on the edge of the cliff to catch them if they fall I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. The children in Holden fantasies represent childhood. The field on which the kids are playing on represents the field of innocence or childhood innocence. The falling off the cliff represents the fall from innocence which means the child became mature and became an adult. Holden believes he is the hero who can shelter these children from growing up and becoming mature adults. Holden has a big desire to protect him and these children from the harshness of adult life.
In addition, Stradlater reaction to Holden’s composition about Allie baseball mitt puts even more stress on why he should be the hero and why he shouldn’t let the kids lose their innocence. Holden says I couldn’t think of any room. Or a house or anything to describe the way Stradlater said he wanted So what I did was Allie baseball mitt The thing that was descriptive is the poems he wrote on the mitt He got leukemia and dies when we were in Maine. My brother Allie was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent then I was. Allie died at a young age with affected Holden the most because Allie couldn’t live his life as a person. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. Holden reaction to Allie’s death puts him into a position on why he should be the hero in his fantasy about saving the children from losing their innocence. He has been through so much as a kid and he doesn’t want these children to go through the same life he had. The main reason for this was because Holden is not ready to accept Allier’s death. Allie death was the last impression of good and innocence that was presented to Holden. When Stradlater come back from his date he says This is about a goddam baseball glove goddammit. You’re always doing everything backasswards, he looks at me. No wonder why you’re flunking the hell out of here. Stradlater anger towards Holden gives him a reminder of his solitude and loss of childhood innocence in which he does want for the children in his fantasy.
Lastly, at the museum and school the words F *** you gives and proves to Holden that he cant stop adulthood, therefore he has to accepted that he has no power to protect himself or these children from the trails of adulthood. Holden says, Somebodyd written ?F**k you on the wall. It drove me near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other kids would see it, and how they;d wonder what the hell it meant…I kept wanting to kill whoever’s written it. WHen Holden sees these words he doesn’t feel comfortable allowing young children to be introduced to such profanity. Holden wants to find the person who did this and kill them because he wants no one to break his plan in protected children from innocence. Holden says, Another F*** you. It was written with a red crayon or something That’s the whole trouble. You can even find a place that’s nice and peaceful. After Holen see so many F*** you on the walls at the school and museum, its changes every perspective towards Holden. A school or a museum is supposed to be a safe space where children would learn, but now even Holden notices that learning areas are even being corrupted to. By see this it puts Holden in a position that he has to learn he can’t run away from adulthood. He learns to accept that he has no power to protect him or the other children in his fantasies from the trials of adulthood.
Even though Holden believe he could be the hero by saving and protecting the children from becoming adults, in the end he learns that he doesn’t have the power to stop these children from losing their innocence of becoming adults. When Holden finally accept this as a person he would survive the downfall of his childhood life and transition into an adult and encourage others to do the same.
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