Catcher In the Rye
Holden cannot accept change in his life. He wants everything to stay the same. Since his brother, Allie's death, Holden has trouble adapting to new situations. He is most afraid of adulthood. He would like to remain a child forever and be the catcher in the rye. If everything was as changeless and as pure as the exhibitions under glass in the museum, Holden would be satisfied in life.
Adulthood scares Holden. He would like all children, including himself, to remain kids forever, and stop the aging process. He likes the innocent children, rather than the experienced adults. In Holden's mind, children are loving, nice, and represents good. Adults represents bad. He wants to save the good children from the bad children, by being the catcher in the rye. "I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody big is around. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. I have to catch everyone if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come from somewhere and catch them." Holden wants to catch the children from "the fall". This is the fall into adulthood. He wants to prevent kids from growing up and stop the aging process. The aging process eventually leads into death, which is what Holden is afraid of. Death means adapting to new situations which Holden doesn't want to do. He has experienced the death of his brother, and knows how hard it is to try to adapt to new situations. When someone close to you dies, it's hard for me. You have to learn to live without the person and learn to adapt to this new situation. This is what Holden doesn't want to do.
Holden is very immature for his age. On the outside he is all grown up and looks like an adult. However, on the inside, he's a child. "I was sixteen then, and I'm seventeen now, and sometimes I act like I'm thirteen."
Holden couldn't bare to watch people mature and lose their innocence. In his mind, Jane Gallagher was still a little girl who left all her kings in the back row while playing checkers. He couldn't picture her growing up and maturing. He was very naive in believing that she was still a child. "Did you ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row?" Jane represented the good and innocent child; however she was really experienced and able to take care of herself. When Holden found out she was going out with Stradlater, he was very upset. He was worried that Stradlater would treat her like everyone else, which he didn't want to occur. He was protective of Jane and asked Stradlater many questions. "What did you do? I said. Giver her the time in Ed Bank's goddam car?" Phoebe, too, represented the good and innocent child. Even though she was mature, Holden couldn't bare to think that she could lose her innocence. She was only a child in his mind.
Holden wanted to freeze time and preserve childhood just like the mummies. The mummies represent a stop in the aging process when everything stays exactly the same. In Holden's mind, the mummies represent staying a child forever and being saved from adulthood. This also relates to the exhibition under glass, in the museum. These exhibitions are signs of purity with no change. "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. You could go there a hundred times and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those fish. The only thing that would be different, would be you." Time has been frozen in these exhibitions and there are no signs of aging. However, it would be noticeable that people would be aging, which is not what Holden wants.
Holden wanted to protect the youth from the danger of adulthood; however, he realizes he cannot succeed in doing this. He loved the carousel because it played the same song over and over again and the horses kept on going in the same circle. However, while Phoebe was on the carousel, she started reaching for the gold ring. This is when Holden realizes that if kids will grow up, they'll do it and he can't change anything. If they fall, they fall, but you can't stop them. "All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold rings, including Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them." He starts to realize that he can't change anything nor stop the aging process. He will have to adapt to new situations and let time go by. He must let Phoebe experience things for the real world, because things won't change for him.
Holden realizes that peace and purity don't exist in the real world. When Holden found that word "fuck you", carved into a school wall, he couldn't believe his eyes. This was unpure and these words symbolize experiences. Kids would see these words and they'll have disgusting thoughts. They will move on from the innocent to the experienced. Holden wished there was a way to had a million years to do it in, you couldn't run out half the fuck you signs in this world. It's impossible. "Kids will grow up and Holden will have to let go of the dream of having AA pure and wonderful society.
Holden wished that the worked and people would be pure and changeless. It would be wonderful if the aging process would stop and kids would remain innocent instead of growing p to the experienced. However Holden starts to realize that this is all impossible and to be the catcher in the rye cannot occur. He realizes that the fall isn't as bad as he thought and life and time will continue to go on. Holden can't stop time; however, he could hold on to memories. If something will happen, it will, and nothing can be done about it.