atcher Rye EssaysNo Innocence in Catcher in the Rye Probably the greatest irony of the novel is the fact that, despite his love of “childhood innocence,” Holden is and acts far from innocent himself.
In fact, he is its antithesis. He acts that way for many reasons. First of all, he has so many responsibilities. Second, he never fits in with the crowd, and finally, he never gets any real help for the problems that he deals with.
Holden does have a love for “childhood innocence” as seen across the book. For example, on page two hundred and one “Somebody’d written ‘ Fuck you’ on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them-cockeyed naturally- what it meant, and how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days.Order now
I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it. . . But I rubbed it The ‘fuck you’ written on the wall out anyway. ” Another example is on page two hundred and eight, “‘So shut up. ‘ It was the first time she Phoebe ever told me to shut up.
It sounded terrible. God, it sounded terrible. It sounded worse than swearing. ” There is one more outstanding quotation from the novel which is found on page two hundred and thirteen. “I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe was going around and around the carousel. ” All these examples clearly show that Holden appreciated “childhood innocence” to a great extent.
Yet Holden acts the opposite. The irony in this novel is Holden’s behavior, which is far from being innocent. He smokes, drinks, always depressed, thinks about suicide, thinks about going embarking to a far place, and has people tell and act in many weird ways. There are three main reasons why he acts this way. Firstly, Holden being only sixteen years of age already has so much responsibility. He has to get money for food and travel.
When he travels he has to make sure he doesn’t get lost, and actually gets there. He has to make sure that he doesn’t flunk school. For a sixteen year old boy this is a challenge all by itself, but there are still more reasons that his life is so difficult. Secondly, he never had anyone actually sit down with him, and figure out the core of his problems.
For example, when Allie died his parents didn’t send him to a psychologist so that the he can help Holden deal with the immense pain, instead his parents sent him to boarding school. When Holden was kicked out of a schools it didn’t seem like the parents tried understand why he was kicked out, and how they could help, instead they sent him to another school. When Holden drank and smoked nobody bothered telling him it was harmful. It seems as if his parents and the people around him didn’t really mind if he failed. Holden can’t fix all the problems by himself. He needs help, but if there is none then there is no way he can act innocent.
Lastly, he never fits in with the crowd. Most likely because his personality is so different from everybody else’s. He can’t stay himself when he talks to different people. For example when he talked to the nuns in the cafe, he actually talked seriously without lying.
When Holden talks to Phoebe he lets out his thoughts and feelings. While with Mrs. Morrow, as Holden says, “Then I started shooting the old crap around. . .
” Because he can’t communicate with people he feels depressed which makes him do such foolish things as smoke, drink, ordering a prostitute, and just leaving everything that he has behind to travel to someplace far. Holden faces three major problems in experiencing “childhood innocence. ” He has too much responsibility. He doesn’t have anyone to help him with his problems, and he doesn’t fit in with the crowd. A sixteen year old, whose younger brother died, and parents ignore, and is facing all those problems can’t possibly under any circumstances be innocent.