Theme Of Childhood In Catcher In The Rye

Words: 1192
Pages: 5

Childhood… the beginning of your journey through life. Some want to leave this stage of time immediately and never return, but not Holden Caulfield. In Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield finds himself running from a life of adulthood and clinging to a life of childhood. This conflict between adulthood and childhood was caused by the death of his brother Allie. Many things can drive a man to madness, death is what drove Holden to it.

Holden Caulfield has always been fascinated with the idea of childhood. He seems to think adulthood is the enemy and that he must run from and try his best to never become it. As he does this he’s driven mad by the idea that he cannot outrun adulthood and must face it someday. Throughout the
…show more content…
That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."” (Salinger 93). He aspires to be children’s saviours even though he sometimes is interested in parts of adulthood. Especially when he orders the prostitute, who if he had had sex with would take his virginity and ultimately his innocence. This in a way makes him a “phony” like the several people he accuses of being phony. “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life” (Salinger 38). This contradicts his dislike of phonies when in reality he is one.

Holden idolized his brother Allie, who in his mind was the perfect child. Allie died at a time in his life when he should be enjoying the time he had ahead of him and look forward to much more to come. The loss of Allie drives him into being stuck in the age that he lost Allie in. He never wants to forget Allie, and in his mind forgetting Allie is growing up. That’s why he is driven mad by the idea of adulthood, or the thing Allie will never get to experience. Allie was an innocent figure that lost his life by no fault of his own. Allie was a victim. In a way Allie was related to Jesus in Holden’s mind, an innocent figure of society prosecuted and killed for no reason. This makes him almost see the spirit of Allie as God and prays to him for guidance. “Every time I'd get to the end of a block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, "Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie.””(Salinger 106). This proves he basically prays to Allie suggesting he believes Allie is a religious