The Moral of Innocence


World Literature


April 6, 2004




World Literature


Period J


April 4, 2004


The Catcher in the Rye


Through out Holden Caufield’s short but meaningful life he matures expeditiously more than other adolescent teens. Even with his mature attitude toward life his image also is displayed as an adult. Only of a young age Holden can be portrayed as a man with great integrity and a man with great morals. Still, with room to mature, Holden is a man that can be looked up to for moral support.


Life, as we know it, matures as we approach the adult stage but Holden matures with the mistakes of others and himself. Holden\'s feelings about phony people and honesty are displayed more often then any other morals. Holden values people that act the way they really feel rather than being gaudy. Holden was charitable when he gave a considerably large donation of twenty dollars to the two nuns. This action was nothing other than an act of pure kindness. In the beginning, he is said to be very irresponsible for reasons like forgetting the foils for fencing at the subway or for getting kicked out of school. But Holden is a young man at heart but a mature adult through his conscious decisions.


As one of the critics looks at Holden he says, “But he is extremely conscious of his own speech he is especially critical of others”(Lundquist, Jones, p59). Holden can be critical at some times but critical in a way to inspect the faults of others. Holden can not be “overtaken” by others. He is a young man that likes to be on top at all times and also likes to get his own way. Holden brings out his moral of society, that it is society that has to change not “Holden.”


Holden uses his decision making as a way to show his maturity. A good example of this is one of the many bar scenes when he gets quite drunk and asks the waiter to complement the singer. This is a show of his drunkenness because the singer is awful or at least he thought so before he started drinking. But before he could get to drunk Holden decides to get up and leave. Finally realizing that his drunkenness has exceeded the limit.


Holden dislikes his teachers and his parents not because he wants to separate himself from them, but because he can not understand them. It is the understanding matter of maturity. He can only really understand his peers of his age not older adults. The only people he trusts and respects are Allie, his deceased brother, and Phoebe, his younger sister. Every one else is a person that is not at the same pace of maturity as Holden.


Adolescence is such a harsh word to describe Holden, more or less; he is an adult, an adult with morals. Holden Caulfield\'s problem is one of communication: as a teenager, he simply cannot get through to the adult world, which surrounds him; as a sensitive teenager, he cannot even get through to others of his own age.


Holden uses the word “phony” many times to refer to the people that he may not like or either has a disagreement with. Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, Holden describes and interacts with various members of his family. The way he talks about or to each gives you some idea of whether he thinks they are “phony” or normal. A few of his accounts make it more obvious than others to discover how he classifies each family member. From Holden’s account, it is obvious that he views the older members of his family as phonies and the younger members as icons of truth and innocence.


Holden, even with a corrupt mind, still has time to think of others. Holden encounters a "fuck-you” (Salinger, 202) written on the wall. Holden carefully rubs it off with his wrist to protect the innocent children from reading it. Later on he finds “fuck-you” (Salinger, 202) scratched into the surface with a knife. He discovers that he can\'t erase this one.


Holden does face many falls through out his life and accepts them. He also has many other things to worry about than just faults. One example of when