Theme Of Corruption In Catcher In The Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger was published in 1951, and yet it is known as a classic to this day. Young people all around can relate to the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. In Catcher in the Rye, Holden faces many troubles we can relate to such as feeling lonely and isolated, or not understanding society. One of the themes that Salinger writes about in the novel is innocence and corruption. In The Catcher in the Rye Holden views innocence and youth as very important.
At the very beginning of the novel, Holden tells the readers that he doesn’t always act his age. “I act quite young for my age sometimes. I was sixteen then, and I’m seventeen now, and sometimes I act like I’m about thirteen.” (Salinger 5) Holden is getting to an age
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As hinted throughout the novel, Holden correlates age with innocence and phoniness. He dismisses several adult characters because he believes that they are phony. When he meets children, Holden is more likely to listen to them and respect them. “In The Catcher in the Rye, he is persistently analyzing people and making judgements based on their age.” (Schulake, 101)
An example of this is in chapter 17, when Holden goes on a date with a girl named Sally. They see a show, and Holden thinks that the people who like it are a bunch of phonies. Sally meets up with a boy named George she knew from somewhere, and they had a conversation for a little while. Holden refers to their conversation as phony. “Then he and Sally started talking about a lot of people they both knew. It was the phoniest conversation you ever heard in your life.” (Salinger 68)
Holden has a little sister and a younger brother that died prior to the events of The Catcher in the Rye. Their names are Phoebe and Allie. Holden often talks negatively of the people he meets and calls them phonies. Phoebe and Allie are an exception to this. Instead, Holden praises the two of them multiple times throughout the novel. One example of this is his description of Phoebe early on in the novel. “You should see her. You never saw a little kid so pretty and smart in your whole life. She’s really smart.” (Salinger
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He visits his history teacher, Mr. Spencer. “I just mean that I used to think about old Spencer quite a lot, and if you thought about him too much, you wondered what the heck he was still living for.” (Salinger 4) Holden feels depressed when he visits his teacher because he’s old, and it contrasts his feelings about young children. “Holden’s feelings about old age are emphasized by his interest in children.” (Schulake 109)
Holden also shows how important innocence is to him when he talks about Jane Gallagher, girl he used to be friends with. Holden never talks negatively about her, just like his younger siblings. In the beginning of the novel, Holden’s roommate at Pencey, Stradlater, goes on a date with Jane. At first, Holden is incredibly excited and continues to talk about her. However, after Stradlater talks to him about the date, Holden punches his roommate and they get into a

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