“The Element of Innocence”
“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.” (Salinger 173). Innocence can have an array of meanings. However, for Holden Caulfield, innocence means preserving the most important points in life, keeping them in a standstill form of art. The idea of innocence in Holden’s point of view is somewhat altered, leaving him to think that death of his brother, Allie, won’t be so hard to deal with if he protects the innocence of the children around the world. The most symbolic references of Holden’s obsession of virtuousness include the museum, the ducks in the pond, and Holden’s dream of being the Catcher in the Rye. The inevitable passage of time and all that it brings is a concept that does not agree with Holden and serves only as a point of depression. The museum mesmerizes Holden because each time he visits, nothing changes and in Holden’s reality, reserves its innocence. Holden is somewhat in denial; he can’t distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong. Constantly running from the truth and reality, Holden finds a safe haven within the places or people that are still in the same position as he once left them. That’s where his infatuation with the museum derives from. Throughout the novel, Salinger uses Holden’s obsession over virtue as a cover-up from the real problem Holden faces, the death of his brother, Allie. The death of his brother serves as a halt in Holden’s development. Since Allie died so young, Holden blames himself for Allie’s death. Thus, resulting in Holden’s obsession over preserving the innocence in the world. Holden’s stature of mind is different. The ducks at Central Park play a key role in showing how juvenile Holden’s mind is. The innocent curiosity that Holden is portraying when he asks where the ducks go during the wintertime suggests that he is still a child on the inside. The way he is unsure about where the ducks go shows Holden’s...
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