The Theme Of Innocence In Catcher In The Rye

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Innocence is one of the most fragile parts of the human psyche, it is so pure, but so easily tainted. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the goal of protecting children's innocence against the evils of adulthood is that of the protagonist. This theme of protecting innocence is shown by Holden, a rich but depressed teenage boy in 1940’s New York. Holden has the desire to be the “catcher in the rye”, this causes him to try to protect other children's purity, while he is losing his childhood to being a depressed adult. Late in the novel, Holden is conversing with his little sister Phoebe and says that he wants to be “the catcher in the rye”. This title is explained as Holden’s thought when he hears the poem “if a body meet …show more content…
Holden seems to be wasting his own childhood trying to preserve others’, this leads him to become more depressed about his own life, even considering and talking about suicide,”I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to god I will,”(141). Holden was also influenced and hurt from the death of his brother Allie, who died of leukemia, Holden described Allie as not only the smartest one of the family but the nicest, saying that he, “never got mad at anybody”. When Allie died, Holden says that he broke all the windows of the garage with his hands, this affected Holden immensely by showing him an innocent kid that died for no good reason, which likely initially fueled his hopes of being the catcher in the rye. Holden wants to be “The Catcher in the Rye” someone who he believes saves kids from adulthood and all its evils, he tries continuously to protect children from this as he feels it is his job and his alone to do it, though while he is trying to preserve other’s innocence, he is throwing away his own. Holden knows what the adult world is like through watching adults and thinks that it’s depressing and wants to keep those pure kids away from it. Holden has seen what good kids are and wants to protect them from doing less than they can like he saw with