Catcher in the Rye Essay

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J.D Salinger’s fictional novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ explores ideas of coming of age and challenging society’s morals through the life of Holden Caulfield, the young protagonist of the novel. The term ‘coming of age’ can be defined as when someone reaches an important stage in development and is accepted by a large number of people. The word ‘morals’ is concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction of right and wrong. Themes such as innocence, isolation and youth reside in the novel, the audience is made aware of Caulfield’s view on children’s innocence, the isolation he feels and how he perceives adults as ‘phony’.

Holden Caulfield is a 17 year old adolescent boy that becomes infatuated with protecting the ‘innocence’ of younger children. His misinterpretation of being the children’s ‘Catcher in the Rye,’ saving them from falling over the cliff is a metaphor for the loss of innocence within children as they come of age and don’t value the morals of society. " I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all and I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff. 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.” Through the use of figurative language, Salinger highlights Caulfield seeing himself as protector of the children which is a metaphor of him protecting the children from losing their innocence, this metaphor emphasises Caulfield’s obsession of keeping the younger children ‘pure’ and positions the reader to feel positive of his intentions towards the children. The protective feeling Caulfield has of the children demonstrates his own coming of age, that the exploration of the children’s innocence and how much he wants to preserve it indicates that he is growing up and reached a stage of his life where he realises he can make a difference.

Caulfield feels...
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