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The Catcher in the Rye: Symbolism of the Novel

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Everybody grows up wither you like it or not, there are things you cannot unseen and things you can’t speak of “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he want to live humbly for one” which he embraces as he matures throughout the story. 

 In the book J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” is written through the eyes of the protagonist Holden Caulfield. Throughout the book Holden wants to save children from growing up, from facing reality and facing responsibilities because of his own traumatic loss of childhood innocence, but in reality, everybody grows up. Holden seems to think that every child’s transition into adult will be disappointing and painful as his own.  

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Firstly, Holden’s catcher in the rye fantasy is delusional, it’s obvious that you can’t save every kid in the world form adulthood, either keep their minds from maturing and having impure thoughts. Second, Why does Holden want to be the catcher the rye/ his traumatic pass.Thirdly he is scared of growing up.

In reality everybody grows up, it’s impossible to keep a mind innocent, and its defiantly impossible to keep one mind from maturing and growing, its apart of life. As we grow older, we all came across the real world. where you can’t be 100% innocent and honest, but it seems as if Holden wants to prevent that. Holden wants every child to be pure and innocent, this is where his dream of being “The catcher in the Rye” comes apart or in other words it’s delusional. Preventing a child from growing up is denying natural order. He hates the idea of growing that even fantasizes about saving kids from jumping off cliffs so they wouldn’t grow up or lose their innocence “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 – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m 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”  

Just in order to save their innocence, but Holden as a traumatized adult is not welcome presence in his own fantasy. “His presence there will make the kids lose their innocence just because he is an adult. 

Why does Holden want to be a catcher in the Rye when he already knows everybody grows and faces adulthood at some point in their lives. It’s impossible to save kids from maturing, but he still yearns to be the catcher in the rye. He strives to fail in life, ‘he failed as a brother, he couldn’t keep Allie alive, he’s failed as a son, he failed to protect Jane Gallagher as Stradlater, etc. In general, he is just failure, this is why he wants to become a catcher in rye, he wants to accomplish something because he never did. Though Holden is scared of growing up because of all the reasonability and being sexually active, he contradicts himself by ordering himself a prostitute and yet he scared of growing because of reasonability and being sexually active 

“I knew I didn’t have to get all dolled up for a prostitute or anything, but it sort of gave me something to do.” He says “If you want to know the truth, I’m a virgin. I really am.” Though Holden is scared to have reasonability, he is taking a step forward into being an adult by trying to be sexually active. But yet he is still he still is attached to his childhood ways. When he meets Sunny, he doesn’t treat her as a prostitute, he just wants to talk to her – he wants company like a child. Instead of having sex he wants to talk. He is in the midst of wanting to a stay a child or become an adult. 

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