In The Cathcher in the Rye, how does childhood and adulthood Holden's vision of an ideal world?

Expert Answers
amerie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Holden, in an "ideal" world, everyone is still a bit naive about life.  Holden wants to protect children from having to face the harsh realities of life (thus his desire to be a "catcher in the rye").  He seems to feel so protective of others based on his own distorted perspective of the world.  He hates the falsity of other people, for example his school (Pencey Prep) which advertises its ability to turn out extraordinary young men, but all Holden sees around him is liars and thieves.  He sees his prep school as a microcosm of New York City, which is full of degenerates. 

Holden's parents, too, show his disdain for adulthood with their cocktail parties and high ranking social position.  They don't "parent" Holden, rather they just send his off to one boarding school after another.  There is no communication between parents and son.  Holden's sister Phoebe, however, reflects the honesty of childhood.  She says what she thinks; she is unafraid to confront life head on.  Adults seems to lose the ability to be honest and forthright about things.  Holden hates that about the process of growing up.

In an "ideal" world, people would always be honest and true, not a bunch of phonies.

dreamer67xo | Student

Well in Holden's ideal world everyone is a child. Holden believes that as one grows they become corrupted by society and lose their innocence. Thats why Holden dreams of being the Catcher in the Rye. Holden wants to catch the children before they fall into the world of adults which to him is a world full of 'phonies'.


Read the study guide:
The Catcher in the Rye

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question