Pain In J. D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye

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Pain doesn’t show up in a person’s life for no reason, it’s a sign that something has to be changed. The Catcher in the Rye shows this through the eyes of Holden, who suffers through the pain of depression every day. In his case Holden had to change his expectations for the world to overcome his pain to feel “so damn happy” (213). Holden idealizes innocence, specifically the innocence of childhood. He frequently finds himself standing up to someone to protect this childhood innocence or feeling sick over innocence that was lost. Throughout his journey, Holden slowly begins to realize that his goal of protecting childhood innocence forever was unattainable. Holden admires the purity of innocence. His main focus in life is protecting that…show more content…
The first time this realization hits Holden is when he’s at the bar with Carl Luce. Carl was Holden’s student advisor even though the only advice Holden got from him was about sex. Holden had called him up looking for a laugh but was shocked when instead; Carl called him immature and asked him when he was going to grow up. This was Holden’s first realization that everybody grows up eventually, even the most childish and immature. Holden then fights ignore this new realization and focus on his ideals. The next incident that has Holden doubting his beliefs happens at Phoebe’s school. He notices an obscenity written on the wall and tries to erase it so that the young kids wouldn’t have to see it. After he erases it he finds another. One that he can’t erase because it wasn’t written on the wall, it was carved. He realizes that even “If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It was impossible.” By this point Holden has realized that not only is everyone going to grow up eventually, but even before kids grow up they will sometimes experience the absence of innocence in the world. Soon after, Holden realizes that he is too old to ride the carousel with Phoebe. Not only is he unable to stop others from growing up, he couldn’t even save himself from falling off the

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