The On Of Innocence By Holden Caulfield Essay

1140 Words Dec 27th, 2016 5 Pages
Holden on to Innocence
(Formalist Approach)
Through his emotional roller coaster across Manhattan, Holden Caulfield insists on obtaining something that is impossible: the ability to preserve innocence. From the start of the novel, J.D. Salinger straps us in and keeps us gripping on to the bars by revealing detail after detail of Holden’s life, allowing us to better understand his unwillingness to desert the comfort of innocence and conform to adulthood. For example, while speaking to his younger sister, Phoebe, Holden admits he wants to stand in a field of rye where children play and catch them as they near the edge of a cliff; a metaphor for preventing children from transitioning into adulthood. Salinger conveys Holden’s reluctance to move on from the familiarity of innocence throughout the novel, which ultimately becomes the main source of his anguish. Holden’s own naivety and hesitancy creates his distress and eventual downfall. Holden Caulfield values honesty and stability, a stark contrast from the “phony” suspense and lies of the adult world. Often mentioning how much he dislikes change, Holden favors the ease that came with being a child. An example of the aforementioned is when he reveals how much he used to enjoy visiting the Museum of Natural History. The exhibits in the museum were simplistic and never went through any extreme changes. Holden comments “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move……

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