Catcher in the Rye: Holden Goes Through a Fall From His Innocence


Jerome David Salinger, born in New York City on January 1, 1919,
may not have written many novels in which he is recognized for.
Although ,he did write one novel, which brought him fame. In many
of Salinger\'s short stories and especially his most well-known
novel he writes about how the main character falls from his or her
own innocence then rises to face their challenges. In J.D.
Salinger\'s , Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield goes through a
fall from his innocence throughout his journey to his safe haven,
home.

One example of when Holden fell from his own innocence is when he
is in the room with Phoebe and he can\'t name anything he likes.
Holden reacts to this question by saying, "Boy, she was depressing
me"(Salinger 169). The only three things he can name that he
liked were Allie, James Castle, and sitting there chewing the fat
with Phoebe. The reason this is a time when Holden falls is
because he gets really depressed when he can barely think of
anything he liked. The reason I think Holden gets so depressed is
because two of the people he names are dead. That\'s why he is so
lonely all the time. Holden finds things in common with Allie and
James Castle and since they\'re both dead he feels, in the back of
his mind, that he should also be dead which makes him depressed.

Another example of a fall for Holden is when he realizes he can\'t
erase even half the "fuck you\'s" in the world. This doesn\'t sound
very important, but it is symbolic because he realizes that he can
not be the catcher in the rye. His dream of shielding all the
innocent children from society\'s harsh elements has been ruined by
this one statement. Now because of this realization he comes to
the conclusion that he can not shield everybody, not even half of
everybody. An example of Holden trying to be the catcher in the
rye is when Holden first sees the "fuck you" on the wall. Holden
said,

It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the
other kids would see it, and how they\'d wonder what the hell it
meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them- all cockeyed,
naturally what it meant, and how they\'d think about it even worry
about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever\'d
written it.(Salinger 201)

Holden\'s final fall comes when he is in the Egyptian Tomb in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Holden is deep within the
Egyptian Tomb he feels he is in a safe and sanitary place free
from society\'s cruel components until he sees the "fuck you" on
the wall. When he sees this he starts to think about committing
suicide because he feels like living is just a waste. During
this time he spent in the tomb he decides on life or death. After
going unconscious for a couple of minutes he decides to live
because, "Death thus becomes not a gesture of defiance but of
surrender"(Miller 17). Once Holden wakes up he feels better and
symbolically chooses life. This is when Holden begins to rise.
When Phoebe is on the carousel Holden wants to protect her but
restrains himself, "The thing is with kids is, if they want to
grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say
anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but its bad to say
anything to them"(Miller 17-18)When Holden says this his dreams of
being catcher in the rye vanish. He realizes that all children
must fall, like he himself did.

In conclusion, The Catcher in the Rye is a story of a boy falling
from innocence to enter adulthood. An example of J.D. Salinger
using symbolism to show Holden\'s Holding on to his childhood is in
his name, Holden(Hold On). This is referring to Holden not
wanting to enter society and all it\'s phonies. Today, when
somebody holds on to their innocence they are often considered
outcasts; and in the persons mind everyone who considers him this,
is a phony, like how Holden saw everyone.

After Holden Caulfield returns to his native New York and rents a
room in a sleazy hotel, he makes a date with Sally Hayes. Before
this date, Holden finds himself wandering the streets of the naked
city. He is feeling depressed and finds himself on Broadway trying
to purchase a record for his sister. After making this purchase,
Holden notices a poor family walking in