6 May 2012
In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the author takes us on a journey with Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old boy, going in and out of many boarding schools. When he gets kicked out of Pencey the story begins. In fear of coming home to his parents, Holden takes a trip to New York; which leaves him at the point of mental, physical, and emotional insanity. As the novel goes on his obsession with keeping children from losing their purity grows. The adult world seems fake, and Holden does not respect people who made the transition. In Gerald Rosen’s “A Retrospective Look At The Catcher In The Rye” he explores Holden’s connection to other characters in the book. He also analyzes the difficulties in crossing over to the adult world. Holden qualms the crossing over due to the fact that losing one’s innocence will force one to face reality, and will at times cause adults to “fall” into a deeper hole.
Holden’s mania of keeping children from transitioning to adult hood shows all throughout The Catcher in the Rye. Rosen explains that during the period of time Holden was in the museum he made it known that everything always stayed the same. The purpose of the “glass cases” acts as a defense against touching, or tainting. “Like the children in the museum, to protect the innocent, the catcher must strictly refrain from touching; he must ‘just leave them alone’’’ (Rosen). This moment in the book compares the protected artifacts to the innocence of a child. He feels that if the children had someone to protect them from getting affected (“touched”) by the hard and cruel times in life they could hold onto their purity for as long as possible. Holden expresses the fact that he wants ensure security and stability during these times in life. This point seems to be the first point in the novel where Holden shows a desire to keep children from corruption. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these kids playing some game in the big field...