An Unhappy Epiphany
In contemporary society, loss of innocence is obvious during the transition of childhood to adolescence. Today’s view on losing this kind innocence is actually deemed to be what would the “cool” thing to do; thus, many people around the same age as Holden Caulfield, conform to this norm and try to act as if their own innocence is lost. Throughout Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, examples of the loss of innocence are shown in various scenes where Holden Caulfield, the main character, is with a symbol of innocence. For example, Holden is seen in a Natural history Museum, and no matter how much time has passed, the inside never changes. This symbol represents that no matter what has happened in Holden’s life, he is able to return to this museum, where as if a freeze-frame picture of his own childhood comes back to life. J.D. Salinger develops the corruption of the young by introducing several scenes in Catcher in the Rye where Holden’s previous views of innocence are challenged by the adultery and corruption that he experiences in real world situations.
An idea that can be interpreted from the fear of losing innocence that Holden feels is actually Holden just being afraid of getting older, even more so that he finds adulthood repulsive. I said no, there wouldn't be marvelous places to go to after I went to college and all. “Open your ears. It'd be entirely different. We'd have to go downstairs in elevators with suitcases and stuff. We'd have to phone up everybody and tell 'em good-by and send 'em postcards from hotels and all. And I'd be working in some office, making a lot of dough, and riding to work in cabs and Madison Avenue buses, and reading newspapers, and playing bridge all the time, and going to the movies and seeing a lot of stupid shorts and coming attractions and newsreels. Newsreels. Christ almighty.” (Salinger 133) Various adjectives and phrases can be taken that can describe the atrocities of what Holden would call a...
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