Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Innocence Theme in Catcher in the Rye

Words 291 (1 page)
Views 145

Innocence Themes in literary works are recurring, unifying subjects or ideas, motifs that allow us to understand more deeply the characters and their world. In The Catcher in the Rye, the major themes reflect the values and motivations of the characters. Some of these themes are outlined in the following sections. As its title indicates, the dominating theme of The Catcher in the Rye is the protection of innocence, especially of children. For most of the book, Holden sees this as a primary virtue. It is very closely related to his struggle against growing up.

Holden's enemy is the adult world and the cruelty and artificiality that it entails. The people he admires all represent or protect innocence. He thinks of Jane Gallagher, for example, not as a maturing young woman but as the girl with whom he used to play checkers. He goes out of his way to tell us that he and Jane had no sexual relationship. Quite sweetly, they usually just held hands. Holden comforted Jane when she was distressed, and it bothers him that Jane may have been subjected to sexual advances from her drunken stepfather or from her date, Holden's roommate, Stradlater.

Holden's secret goal is to be "the catcher in the rye. " In this metaphor, he envisions a field of rye standing by a dangerous cliff. Children play in the field with joy and abandon. If they should come too close to the edge of the cliff, however, Holden is there to catch them. His attitude seems to shift near the end of the novel when he realizes that Phoebe and other children must be allowed to "grab for the gold ring," to choose their own risks and take them, even though their attempts may be dangerous.

Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with Innocence Theme in Catcher in the Rye

Hire writer

Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with Innocence Theme in Catcher in the Rye

Hire writer

Cite this page

Innocence Theme in Catcher in the Rye. (2018, Jul 10). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/innocence-theme-in-catcher-in-the-rye/

Not Finding What You Need?

Search for essay samples now

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer