Childhood In Catcher In The Rye

Superior Essays
The children in the 1980’s Toys R Us’s commercial expressively repeated the phrase: “I don’t wanna’ grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.” Although the company Toys R Us was not founded until 1948 (About Toys"R" Us), Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye has the same mentality: he does not want to grow up. His bias towards innocence and fear of adulthood leaves him with one purpose in life: to save those from enduring the pain of maturing. Due to a mishearing of Robert Burn’s poem “Comin Thro’ the Rye,” Holden envisions himself as the hero at the end of the cliff, catching innocent kids coming through the rye. He wants to become a catcher in the rye. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden’s perspectives …show more content…
In the novel, Holden states that throughout the museum the history exhibits remains the same; it is the people in the museum who change.“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. […] Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you” (Salinger, 121). As one matures, their perspectives change and develop. Holden does not want to mature; he fears change and dislikes confusion. The museum gives him a reliable version of life that is frozen and immovable, and it troubles Holden that he changes every time he enters the museum. Because of this, he decides to not go to the museum while in New York City: “When I got to the museum, all of a sudden I wouldn’t have gone inside for a million bucks” (Salinger, 122). Holden realizes that going into the building again would be another testimony of his quickening adulthood, which he constantly lives in fear of. He sees becoming a catcher in the rye as a way to assure that a child’s innocence is preserved just as the exhibits in the …show more content…
As a teenage boy, it is expected that Holden is interested in sex, but he makes it expressly clear that he and Jane did not have a sexual history. Holden believes that a sexual relationship is not casual, and therefore should not be treated as such. Although Jane never makes an actual appearance in The Catcher in the Rye, one can discern that Holden seems quite smitten with her. When Stradlater suggests that he and Jane had sex, Holden is furious and even attacks Stradlater: “‘What 'd you do?’ I said. ‘Give her the time in Ed Banky 's goddam car?’” (Salinger, 43) If Stradlater and Jane had had sex, Holden’s image of her would be tainted, and thus would not be a symbol of innocence and purity in his life. Holden’s respect for women is not only found through Jane, however. During his adventures through the city, he has several encounters with beautiful women and even a prostitute. Holden, although seemingly curious and interested, is reluctant to lose his virginity and ascend into adult

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