LICENCE 3 AMERICAN NOVEL TITLE: Childhood innocence in the process of Holden’s
Publié le 06/11/2023
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Childhood innocence in the process of Holden’s
growing up in “the catcher in the rye”
❖ Bakayoko Djatchè
❖ Diarrassouba Yefounpinin
Prof Coulibaly Daouda
I-HOLDEN’S NOSTALGIA FOR CHILDHOOD
1- Holden’s desire for innocence of childhood through his contact with his sister and
2- The main character’s fear to grow up
II-HOLDEN’S DISULLUSIONMENT WITH ALDULTHOOD
1- Holden’s negative views of the adult world
2- Holden’s interaction with adult
III- THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE
1- Holden’s experiences in New York
2- Holden’s transition to adulthood
There is a certain process that all of us have in common.
Not everyone can say it is a pleasing experience, but nobody can deny that it happened to them.
This process is ‘Growing up’ which happens to everyone whether they like it or not.
The transition between childhood innocence and adulthood is long and confusing, which often reveals questions that can never be answered.
It is a process which needs moving from many natural facts to others; from innocence to responsibility, from childhood to maturity, from thoughtlessness to awareness, from freedom to busyness, from easiness to toughness.
The novel “The Catcher in the Rye” written by Jerome David Salinger explores how the adult life has its complexities and can be very puzzling to teenagers starting that phase in their lives.
The main character Holden Caulfield realizes the confusion of a teenager when faced with the challenges of adapting to an adult society.
As far as we are concerned with the study of this novel, the theme of childhood innocence is one among many others which we are going to drive our study through.
Then, for a great analysis of this theme, we will be focused on Holden’s nostalgia for childhood innocence, his disenchantment with adulthood and his loss of innocence. I- HOLDEN’S NOSTALGIA FOR CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE 1-Holden’s desire for innocence of childhood through his contact with his sister and Allie’s memories Just like his obsession, he doesn’t want to change and stays as a child to preserve his innocence.
He sees his siblings as his inspiration for his obsession. Throughout the novel, Holden always describes his sibling as nice, responsible, smart children.
This gives the reader the reason of Holden’s obsession of preserving his innocence. He sees innocence through his siblings.
In chapter 5, Holden describes Allie, his dead little brother, as “fifty times as intelligent” than him.
He exaggerates that Allies is so smart.
In chapter 10, Holden describes Phoebe as “a little kid so pretty and smart”.
He also convinces the readers that the readers would “like her”.
This shows a reason why he wanted to stay like a child is to be like by everyone.
Holden convinces the reader that both of his siblings are smart and everyone likes them.
In Chapter 23, Holden’s mother gave Phoebe a goodnight kiss and said goodnight to her.
All of a sudden, Holden started to cry, “Then, all of a sudden, I started to cry”.
This gives the readers an idea that one reason why he wanted to preserve innocence is he wanted to feel to be love and to feel the care of his love ones especially from his mother that he never felt before.
He idolizes Allie and Phoebe because his parents give them so much attention, love and care.
For Allie, they always visit his grave, “my parents go out quite frequently and stick a bunch of flowers on old Allie’s grave”, and because Holden have a “lousy childhood”, he his jealous of his siblings because they get the attention, care, and love from their parents that he’s been longing for so long.
However, his treatment towards his siblings, and children, doesn’t influence his jealousy.
In fact, he wanted to be the
“catcher in the rye” to protect them from adulthood.
2-The main character’s fear to grow up
In the novel, Holden has a deep and strong fear to grow up, to be adult.
His fear to grow up is expressed in the novel through different facts.
Firstly, this fear is shown through his inaction. In fact, Holden was afraid of expressing his love for Jane, one of his peers, and refused someone else to woo her.
He disliked Stradlater to be in contact or to discuss with Jane at the point he got scared and worried when Stradlater got a date with Jane.
See when he says “Stradlater was a very sexy bastard” (Chapter 4).
This means he didn’t want someone else to approach Jane, his secret love. Furthermore, his resistance to growing up is shown by his refusal to make effort and improve his school results.
He was good only at English and therefore, he was disregarding the other subjects.
A scene in Chapter 2 revealed how Holden was not worried about his future adult life; “I passed English alright, because I had all that Beowulf and Lord Randal (…) once in a while.” Holden is out of the reality and he even doesn’t care about his own failure. II- HOLDEN’S DISULLUSIONMENT WITH ALDULTHOOD 1- Holden’s negative views of the adult world What is the reason that Holden resists adulthood so much? It is the “phoniness”.
Jerome David used “phony” many times in the book.
It is one of the most famous vocabularies from “The Catcher in the Rye” and it accurately describes the essence of human nature, or more precise to say, adults’ according to Holden.
In the novel, Holden has met and encountered with many characters who are ostentatious and fake, from his parents to his elder brother D.B. People have to lie or be “phony” to socialize, to impress someone, to survive in the society. Holden is a judgemental person who keeps observing people’s phoniness but he lies intensely throughout the course of the novel.
From his sarcastic tone in his conversation with other people, readers can denote his own cynical view on the world.
Holden views adulthood as phony, hypocritical and fake while childhood in his mind is a world of innocence, honesty, and joy. This is the reason why he chooses to be “the catcher in the rye”.
He wanted to catch the children, who are playing in a field of rye, from falling off the cliff.
The field of rye symbolizes the childhood world, a world that is full of children playing, while the cliff symbolizes adulthood.
Holden doesn’t want the children to struggle in life, like he is dealing with.
He wanted children to stay children and preserve their innocence because he doesn’t want them to fall in the corrupted and complicated world of adulthood.
In chapter 25, Holden tries to erase the “Fuck you” word written in the wall of an elementary school, “but I rubbed it out anyway, though.”.
Holden tries to protect the children from reading the swear word that could poison their mind.
The red hunting hat is another symbolism of innocence in the novel.
Holden always wear the red hunting hat to protect himself from the “hunter”, the society.
He gave the hunting hat to Phoebe, “she took off my red hunting hat – the one I gave her”, to protect her from the society.
He wanted Phoebe to have her innocence as long as she needed it.
Erasing the swear on the wall and protecting Phoebe from the society are Holden’s ways of protecting the children from “jumping off the cliff”. 2- The reasons that lead Holden to reject the adult world The reason Holden rejects adulthood is because of the way how Holden believes adults act. He thinks that they’d do anything, including throwing away everything genuine about them, so that they can fit in with everyone else and for others and society.... »
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