"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger: An Examinatory Essay on Holden's Loss of Innocence throughout the novel

Essay by dcalex30High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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"...Children have a power to imagine that is almost magical when compared to the adult imagination, and this is something irrevocable that a child loses when he or she becomes bound by logic..." - Joseph Weizenbaum. The novel "Catcher In The Rye" written by J.D. Salinger is about Holden Caulfield, a boy who has just been expelled from his school and the day leading up to telling his parents he has been kicked out. Throughout the novel, Holden yearns for the innocence of youth and heeds other children to hold on to theirs because he has experienced adulthood and the responsibility coupled with it.

The thought of change, especially due to a change in viewpoint sickens Holden. "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" (Pg 121).

This shows Holden's longing for his innocence because the thought of the times that he had gone to the museum and been innocent depresses him. He wishes that he could go in there with the same perspective that he had when he was younger and it saddens him that he has lost that youthful perception. Holden desires a fixed world that is uncomplicated and unchanging, much like a museum, because it is what the world of a child is like. "...And run around the goddamn house, naked. With Jane around, and all" (Pg 32). This shows Holden's distaste of anything with an indication of taking away a child's innocence, the hint that there may be sexual abuse infuriates him because he does not want Jane to grow up. Jane is one of the people in Holden's life that he can be comfortable with which allows him to...