Growing Up and Innocence in "The Catcher in the Rye"
I'm Holden Caulfield. I just flunked out of Pensey and now I'm in New York. I might go home in a few days. I don't know. I don't know what I want to do. I just want to be the catcher in the rye...
Holden reveals what he wants to do with his life
"It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!'" (Salinger 191)
"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. 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. I know it's crazy" (Salinger 191).
Holden helps kids at the park
"I passed by this playground and stopped and watched a couple of very tiny kids on a seesaw. One of them was sort of fat, and I put my hand on the skinny kid's end, to sort of even up the weight" (Salinger 136).
Growing up and the loss of innocence or naivety are things that many view as being negative. In the book, Holden has a hard time coming to terms with himself growing up and his sister is therefore very important to him because he views her as being innocent.
This is a very important scene in the book. Holden realizes that the only things that sounds appealing to do is be a "catcher in the rye," saving children from falling off a cliff. For Holden, this represents saving children from losing their innocence and naivety, as well as representing Holden's trouble with accepting growing up.
This is another very important scene in the book. This scene shows a different side of Holden, since he is usually rude or unpleasant towards others. This shows that he cares about children and wants to make sure that both kids are happy. This also shows that Holden somewhat misses being a kid, again highlighting his struggles in accepting that he is not a child anymore.