What are the key formal and thematic features of the prose in The Catcher in the Rye?
In The Catcher in the Rye, one of the key themes is innocence and Holden's determination to protect the innocence of children. Holden believes that adults and the adult world are corrupt. He appears obsessed with innocence and youth, which act as a shield from his need to face reality. He daydreams about two children who never grow up. This daydream relates to his younger brother's death.
The theme of remaining a child also permeates the novel. By the end of the work, Holden has to face the fact that children do and must grow up, and that life is a journey from childhood to adulthood. Holden is immersed in the idea of phonies,which is somewhat immature. He labels many adults as phony without much reason.