Essay Sample about the Innocence of Young People in The Catcher in the Rye

Published: 2022-05-20
Essay Sample about the Innocence of Young People in The Catcher in the Rye
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American literature The Catcher in the Rye
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 965 words
9 min read

In "The Catcher in the Rye" by Salinger establishes a strong argument about being young from a primary experience by interacting with young people in their environment where he largely admires the innocence of children. Being young is both challenging and intriguing and Salinger seeks to show the experience of youth as well as their aspirations as they interact together and other people in their environment. Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye" by Salinger loves young people and through his interaction with young people he values their innocence, caring attitude, and natural kind hearts (Salinger, Jerome). This essay will assess how Salinger in "The Catcher in the Rye" view being young and the important lessons that can be derived from Salinger's assessment. The primary theme that this essay will address is the theme of innocence as argued by Salinger in the "The Catcher in the Rye."

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Salinger identifies the theme of innocence and their high level of understanding in the character Holden who represents the virtue of goodness in children. Holden creates a significant difference between adults and young people by viewing children as people with goodness and virtues that are evident in their innocence whereas adults lack virtues and have corrupted morals as they seek to outdo each other. Holden perceives Jane as the innocent girl and shows that their relationship is virtuous and innocence because they could hold hands and play but they never had sex but Holden is afraid that Ward and his stepfather eyes her with greed for sex and manipulation. Therefore, what important for Holden is saving Jane's innocence and purity before she is exploited by the like of Ward and his step-father. What Holden values most is the innocence in children and he would want to be the "catcher in the rye" where he can rescue children from the injustice of the world and retain their sincere, loving and innocence nature.

Holden does not want to grow up because he associates old age with death and lack of virtue. The adults in the society are referred to as phonies whom Holden hates because they are people with fake identity and what he cherishes the most are sincere and true characters like those of children. Salinger uses Holden to create a conflicting nature between young people and adults and the difference is represented in the innocence of the children and their true nature. Adults are cunning and deceptive as Holden refers to the principal as a "phony slob" which means that the principal is manipulative. The advertisements used to advertise Pencey Prep are also deceptive and represents the nature of adults. The deceptive advertisement shows the corrupt nature of the adults and Holden is against the school system because it is corrupt and does not promote and preserve the innocence of children. "I said."I mean they're all right if they go around saving innocent guys' lives all the time, and like that, but you don't do that kind of stuff if you're a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot," this quote depicts how Holden think adults are corrupt and insincere (Salinger, Jerome). In a date in New York with Sally, the date ends badly because Holden perceives Sally as untrue and deceptive and his lack of endurance for adults and preference for young children marks the different natures of children and adults.

Holden like young people because of their rebellious nature which he supports because he does not want the young children to be corrupted. Holden questions the gesture by Mr. Antolini when he gives him a massage and intelligent advice because despite the good intentions of the teacher the massage convinces Holden that it is a sign of homosexuality. Holden wishes adults also can be as sincere as children instead of being deceptive and fake. On the contrary, Holden is not a child and his fantasy of being a child alienates him from the others to loneliness. Holden envies young people because unlike adults who engage in sex which Holden perceive as secretive and shameful young people have a high level of innocence and are able to enjoy the close relationship without manipulating each other and being viewed suspiciously. Holden adores Phoebe her little sister and he is willing to protect her from the corrupted world. Holden wants to play the Catcher in the Rye for her young sister because she is still young and she is yet to be corrupted by adulthood. Throughout the novel, Holden feels that the adults are not good for children because they ruin the innocence of the children. However, Holden realizes that he cannot be able to maintain the innocence of children because at the end they become adults. For Holden protecting the innocence of children is a primary virtue that all adults should emulate (Salinger, Jerome).

In conclusion, Holden depicts young people as virtuous, kind, loving and innocent characters that he is eager to protect after experiencing the cruelty and the pretentious nature of adults. Holden shows that young people are able to show sincerity and kindness to each other by offering support like in his case with Jane Gallagher without hidden motives. Holden role as a Catcher in the Rye is a metaphor in which he envisions himself standing by a dangerous cliff and letting children be free from where he can catch them before they are in danger. However, at the end of the novel Holden realizes that it is good to let go and let young people take risks even if they are dangerous because they allow children to grow.

Work Cited

Salinger, Jerome D. "The Catcher in the Rye [1951]." Boston, MA et al (2001).

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