Holden experiences struggles with all sorts of situations. His family expects him to be successful at a prestigious prep school and move on to the Ivy League. Holden can not see himself in that role, so he seeks escape. First, he wants to run off with Sally Hayes and maybe get married. There’s plethora of visions he sees but doesn’t portray them to be real. For example, one exception is a beautiful but hopeless dream. When asked by Phoebe what he would like to be, Holden rejects standard choices such as a doctor or scientist. He says, "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around… standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. 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 where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye...but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy” (p. 51) Holden wants to protect children from adulthood, because he believes children are innocent, and he does not want them to be lowered in the phoniness of adults.
Holden sees ugliness all around him, but he also sees beauty. The 6-year-old boy singing "If a body catch a body coming through the rye" (p. 115) as he is walking down the street is,