Themes In Catcher In The Rye

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A “Catcher in the Rye” is characterized as a person who tries to protect other people’s innocence. This means keeping a person shielded from all the horrors and hardships of the modern world. Holden Caulfield strives to be a “Catcher in the Rye”, his only problem is his desires don’t always point him in this direction. Inside Holden’s unpredictable conscience lies two “Holden’s”. The Carnal Holden who wants to procreate and maybe even start a relationship, Also the more collected “Holden” who has found his goal in life to protect the innocence of his peers. Throughout “Catcher in the Rye”, Salinger introduces, two desires that conflict, his carnal desire to procreate, and his intellectual desire to protect children’s innocence, this conflict …show more content…
Holden displays characteristics of this in his constant conquest for an intimate partner. He seems to care about women mostly when he is aroused by their presence. For instance, Holden says, “Women kill me. They really do. I don't mean I'm oversexed or anything like that – although I am quite sexy. I just like them, I mean. They're always leaving their goddam bags out in the middle of the aisle.” This is Holden trying to kind of suppress his carnal urges, but when attractive women are around the desires surface, and his self-restraint is limited. This exemplifies the idea that innocence will waiver, in certain situations feeling and impulse will overtake logical reasoning. Holden’s brain wouldn’t ever allow him to turn down an opportunity to procreate. When offered a prostitute Holden couldn’t refuse, he says, “Okay," I said. It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think. That's the whole trouble. When you're feeling very depressed, you can't even think.” Holden tries to self-justify this situation saying he is just “depressed”, when his impulse part of his brain refuses to let him turn down this opportunity. He also mentions that he can’t think, when the carnal part of Holden’s brain activates the logical part shuts down. These neural episodes prove that loss of innocence is inevitable, and emotional and mental maturity comes with physical

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