There is a time in a person s existence when they loose their innocence. No longer are they sheltered from the harsh outside world, they are a part of it. They are now corrupt. A process that engulfs all and is only stopped by death. These are the thoughts of Holden Caulfield right before he has a mental breakdown. Holden adores innocence and how only the young are subject to it.
In Holden s mind there are three people in particular Holden knows who are the epitome of innocence. These people are Phoebe, Holden s younger sister, Jane, Holden s friend from summer, and Allie, Holden s younger brother that has passed away. Phoebe, who Holden loves very much, has always appeared innocent to Holden. Holden is very attached to Phoebe and would do anything in his power to save her from the corrupt world that he has succumbed to. The thing that Holden does not realize is that innocence is not forever. It is only a matter of time before one becomes corrupt.
Holden believes that if he shelters Phoebe that she will remain innocent. Misguided by it s connotation, Holden remembers the poem The Catcher in the Rye. Holden sees himself as a catcher in a field of rye preventing frolicking children from falling off a cliff. In Holden s mind the field of rye is childhood innocence and the unknown past the cliff is the corrupt side of the world.
Jane Gallagher was a summer friend of Holden s a few years back. Holden and Jane always used to play checkers with each other on Holden s front porch. Whenever they played Jane always kept her kings in the back row. Holden s last image of Jane was as a sweet innocent young girl.
Keeping the kings in the back was a metaphor. It symbolizes Jane remaining innocent and not letting the corrupt world in. Holden thinks that Jane has not changed and she has remained innocent. Unfortunately, the reality is that Jane has probably grown up and has gone corrupt. Jane, has realized to advance you must risk Kings and in order to do that your innocence is sacrificed. Allie, Holden s brother, died a few years ago from leukemia.
Allie was the ideal of innocence to Holden. Holden admired Allie for his innocence. When Allie died, Allie s innocence remained with him. Allie was never corrupted or had even started down the road to corruption.
Now, Allie can never be corrupted. He is one of the few, the lucky, that remain innocent forever. Holden looks for those who are innocent. Holden is looking for Allie. Holden can never find Allie, and by seeking out the innocent Holden is merely trying to cope with Allie s death. His obsession with his brother s death most likely is the reason why Holden snapped.
He must learn in order to survive you must be corrupt. Allie never learned that lesson.