Catcher In The Rye Social Commentary Essay

1366 Words 6 Pages
The Catcher in the Rye is a social commentary that criticizes the superficialness of adulthood, through the eyes of the rebellious protagonist: Holden Caulfield. Holden is an academic failure who carelessly flunked out of his preparatory school, Pencey Prep, due to intolerable grades in each of his courses except English. Holden, following his academic liberation, continues his life, traveling around, criticizing the world around him in a cynical tone, attacking the phoniness and unbearable corruption of the adult world. As a consequence for his acrimony for the distastefulness of adulthood, Holden views children as a fragment of hope and happiness because their preciousness has not yet faced the brutal deterioration of adulthood. Holden takes …show more content…
He observes the masses of children passing by the magnificently timeless exhibits, and he thinks about Phoebe, his beloved younger sister, passing through the museum the same way he did. Holden praises the museums for their constant state of being. He mentions how every time someone returns to the museum, they would examine the same, unaltered exhibits as the previous time, with nothing having changed, with the exception of themselves. Holden mentions how this exemplifies that children change, and he constantly thinks about how when Phoebe in particular returns to the museum, she arrives an older, changed person compared to the previous visit. Holden correspondingly says: “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (158). This demonstrates Holden’s admiration with things that do not evolve, transition, and grow. He acknowledges that the children who visit the museum every weekend will undoubtedly be different and older every time they walk past the exhibits, but he hopes to stop the change. He wishes he could put these very same children behind glass cases so they can not evolve, just like the exhibits themselves. This would be another way of saving them from falling off the cliff into adulthood, losing all of their innocence and charm as they age. Holden is constantly thinking and coming up …show more content…
Holden feels personally violated and rubbed the profanity away. He said: “I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what they hell it meant … and even worry about it for a couple of days” (260). Holden wishes he could kill the person who had the audacity to draw such preposterous words on a wall that countless children pass by every day. Holden, on his way out of the school, passes through a different staircase and sees a different “Fuck you” written on the wall. His desire to be a savior for the children is shown again as he goes to rub this second profanity off, but this time he discovers that it is scratched on with a blade. He is enraged. Holden sadly accepts that, despite his valiant efforts: “If you had a million years to do it in you couldn’t rub out even half of the ‘Fuck you’ signs in the world. It’s impossible” (262). Holden finds these words to be archetypally adult and inexplicably inappropriate for any child to see. He assumes it to be his duty to protect the kids who would possibly see these words, and takes it upon himself to destroy as many “Fuck you” drawings as he can, until he ultimately accepts that such a mission it impossible, and that no matter what, there will always be a “Fuck you” for a child to

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