Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

Essay by snipesHigh School, 10th gradeA+, October 2004

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Holden Caulfield, the main character of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, strives to protect children from the world, and maintain their innocence. Being on the verge of becoming an adult, Holden has lost his own innocence when he learned about the darker side of the world that children are normally shielded from. After realizing how much better the world seemed when he was little, Holden tries to preserve this outlook in younger children and yearns for his own innocence to be returned to him.

This desire is expressed very clearly when he attempts to have sex with Sunny, the prostitute. Holden doesn't like the fact that he is still a virgin, despite having several chances to loose his virginity. However, when he gets the chance to have sexual intercourse with a prostitute, Holden backs out at the last minute. He doesn't realize it, but Holden subconsciously wants to keep his virginity.

He feels uncomfortable with Sunny because he is uncomfortable with everything that is involved in maturing.

Because he now knows what maturing feels like, Holden is worried about children having to go through what he did, and tries to prevent them from the truth that he feels is so disturbing. Holden's visit to his sister's elementary school finds him angry at all the swears written on the walls. Holden is thinking about how the children are going to react when they see these words, and find out what they mean. The effect that this could have on the children is what makes Holden so furious. He is reminded of what has been taken away from him, and becomes more and more determined not to let the same thing happen to others.

Protection of children from loss of innocence is about the only remedy for the...