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The Catcher in the Rye In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden views the world as an evil and corrupt place where there is no peace. This perception of the world does not change throughout the novel. However as the novel progresses, Holden gradually comes to the realization that he is powerless to change all of this. During the short period of Holden's life revealed in this book, Holden does succeed in making us perceive that the world is crazy. Shortly after, Holden leaves Peace Prep and checks in to the Edmont Hotel.
A sleazy hotel of sort, Holden spends several nights there. Holden describes the Edmont Hotel as a place filled with morons and perverts. His current situation tends to deteriorate from this point on. As more as he looks around this world, the more depressing life seems to him. Around every corner Holden sees evil.
He looks out on a world that appears completely immoral and unethical. The couple of days that the reader spends with Holden they can see that he is placed in the in the vicinity of Manhattan. The city is decked with decorations and holiday splendor of the upcoming season, however, much to Holden's despair seldom yields any occasions of peace, charity or even genuine cheerfulness. Holden is surrounded by what he views as drunks, perverts, morons and screwballs. These convictions which Holden holds fluctuate very momentarily during only one particular and very memorable scene in the book.
The scene is with Mr. Antolini. After Mr. Antolini patted Holden on the head while he was sleeping, Holden jumped up and ran out thinking that Mr. Antolini was a pervert as well. This is the only time during the novel where Holden thinks twice about considering someone as a pervert.
After reviewing Mr. Antolini, Holden finally realizes that maybe he wasnt making an unwelcome d pass at him. Maybe he just liked patting guys heads as they slept. This is really the only time in the novel where Holden actually considers a positive side.
This event does not create a significant change. As Holden himself says, Its not too bad when the suns out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out. The sun is a reference to righteousness through the common association of light and goodness. Although this insight seems positive, Holden's perception of the world still remains the same. The one conviction that does change during the novel is Holden's belief that he can change the world.
On his date with Sally, Holden reveals his feelings. Did you ever get fed up? I mean did you ever get scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did something. (TCITR page 130) Holden goes through several plans. Holden at one point contemplates heading out west where he will pretend to be a deaf-mute and live a quiet life in the woods. At another point Holden proposes to Sally to escape to this world with him. He ultimately reveals his plans to his sister Phoebe.
Although Holden describes the situation in a very colorful and symbolic manner he essentially tells Phoebe that he wants to prevent children from ever growing up. He blames the worlds corruption on adults and believes that when he stops the children from growing up he will preserve their innocence and eventually save the world. It takes most of the book before Holden begins to realize that he is helpless to stop this immorality. Finally, he realizes that not only is there nothing that he can do, but there is nowhere else he can go to hide from it.
It takes Holden awhile to comprehend these concepts. One good example is when Holden is delivering the note to his sister at her school. He encounters an F-U written on the wall in the hallway. Holden careful rubs this off with his hand to protect the innocent children from reading it and ignorantly blames this foul inscription on a bum. This event is the beginning of Holden's understanding that his dreams are infeasible.
Ironically, it is one of the innocent children that he is trying to protect who helps him come to terms with this reality. It is Phoebe his sister who challenges his plan to escape out west. As he tells Phoebe that she cant run away, he too discovers that cant run away. You cant ever find a place that is nice and peaceful, because there isnt any. (TCITR page 204) The final break-down comes near the end of the book when he is watching Phoebe on the carousel and sees how happy she is trying to grab the gold rings. All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid shed fall off the goddam horse, but I didnt say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.
If they fall off, they fall off, but its bad if you say anything to them. (TCITR page 211) In the above passage from the novel, Holden hits his final breakdown. Being the catcher becomes obviously unrealistic. The gold rings arent really gold but instead brass-plated iron. The gold rings are symbols of the corrupted world which always wears a shiny surface to hide its evil. It is at this point in time that Holden sees that he can not stop children from growing up and therefore losing their innocence. They will fall if they fall, there is nothing that can be said or done.
Shortly after this point Holden has his nervous breakdown. His breakdown is due to this depressing realization that the world is corrupt and filled with evil. He knows now with a sickening certainty that he is powerless to stop both evil and maturation. As a matter of fact, it is corrupt to do so.
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Research essay sample on Children From Growing Grab For The Gold Ring