Themes in Catcher in the Rye

Topics: The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger, Fuck Pages: 2 (608 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Jenny Doherty
Ms. Collins
Honors English
28 November 2012
Themes in Catcher in the Rye
In the novel Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, he shows many varied themes and emotions throughout the novel.
The first major theme in the novel is innocence. Throughout the story Holden tries to protect the children from having to grow up and face adult problems and decisions. Holden wants the children to stay pure and not become like the adults who are impure and bad examples. He likes the fact that "in that museum... everything always stayed right where it was...(Salinger )" even though he grew up and changed. Holden liked the idea of knowing that the artifacts inside the museum would never change on him no matter how old he got. Another example of Holden protecting children's innocence is when he goes to Phoebe's school to drop off a letter for her and he sees the words "Fuck You" on a wall by the stairs. Holden was so mad at whoever had written it on the wall because he knew it took the children's innocence away anytime they would see it. He states "...I thought how... all the... little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it mean...(Salinger 201)" This quote represents Holden wanting to protect all of the young children at Phoebe's school's innocence. A third example of innocence is when Holden is at the museum later on in the book and sees another "Fuck You" on a window below an exhibit. He tries to rub this one off as well but could not. "...You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful...(Salinger 204)" Holden wanted to protect the innocence of all of the children that would walk through the exhibit so they would not lose it.

The second major theme in the novel is alienation. Holden is all alone in his life and he thinks that he does not have anyone to turn to. From the very beginning of the story Holden has been alienating himself from everybody. "...I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomsen Hill... (Salinger 2)"...
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