Hey guys! Just wanted to show you guys the first draft of the essay I wrote for my English class =) I ended up getting an A =)
Ironically, the role of a ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is selfless and caring, the complete opposite of how the audience perceives Holden in the novel. With the suddenly positive image "I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all…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. I know it's crazy,” contrasting the negative atmosphere throughout the novel, this contrives a sense of hope for Holden. The cliff indicates the fall from childhood into adulthood, and the rye field represents childhood, somehow also symbolizing childlike freedom and happiness. When Holden says he wants to be the ‘Catcher in the Rye’, it means that he wants to be the one to catch children before they fall into adulthood.
Although difficult to see clearly through his derisive façade of cynical seclusion, Holden signifies the ‘Catcher in the Rye’ or the ‘Preserver of Innocence’ first when the title is first mentioned, in chapter sixteen, Holden hears a little boy singing to himself. The real lyrics are “If a body meet a body, coming through the rye,” but the little boy sings “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” the pronounced mistake demonstrates the boy’s innocence and untainted youth, as well as it is catalyst that triggers Holden’s desire to become a ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Notably, he is only cynical or criticizing towards people who aren’t his age. The replacement of ‘meet a body’ for ‘catch a body’ is extremely figurative because of its presence in the title itself.
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden eventually realizes that he is unable to stop the progression (or regression in Holden’s opinion) to adulthood. When Holden goes to Phoebe’s school, looking to deliver her a note, he stumbles upon a “fuck-you” written in the stairs to the point that “I thought I wanted to puke again.” And he rubs it off so the children won’t see it. But later, he finds another “fuck-you” etched on the wall with a knife, the permanence of the “fuck-you” symbolizing that he cannot protect innocence himself.
The Catcher in the Rye is an intense, powerful, introspective novel with three-dimensional characters, accentuated by the descriptive, harsh, gritty world Salinger has created. The vices and lonely atmosphere present all throughout The Catcher in the Rye is deceptive and unsettling with Holden’s skewed, biased perceptions of the world and the people surrounding him. The vivid depictions of the dark realities and concepts that Holden face are provocative; it triggers thought-provoking questions about issues that plague the real world today. Holden’s experiences as a teenager, parallels itself both to the past, and the realities faced today. As the reader journeys with Holden on his path of his downfalls and insight, it is seen that there is a deeper concept of the idea of innocence and the fall towards adulthood.