JD and innocence and corruption permeates the entirety of

JD Salinger’s characterization of Holden Caulfield is, by the nature of his book, heavily reliant on the contrast between Holden’s spoken words and thoughts. His repeated self description of “lonesome” is directly conflicted with him never making any meaningful connections with people, save for Phoebe. Holden’s obsession with purity and innocence and corruption permeates the entirety of his being, and plays a major role in his thoughts, but a much smaller one in his spoken words. Holden shows strong self destructive tendencies, his three pack a day smoking and heavy drinking are tantamount to that.He describes himself as lonesome eight separate times, and describes himself as depressed or places/concepts as depressing 50 times. Beyond this talk, is his consideration of suicide at multiple points in the book, with the most severe case being his bath time contemplation of “What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would’ve done it, too, if I’d been sure somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.” (Salinger, 57) Despite his inner turmoil, Holden continues to maintain an outwardly positive disposition on the whole, particularly when he is with Phoebe. Purity is held in the highest esteem in Holden’s eyes, but he holds himself to an entirely different standard. He drinks, smokes, and does many “adult things” that he would look down upon in others, but are entirely excused when he is the one doing them. The culmination of this way of thinking is his desire to to be “The Catcher in The Rye,” through this misheard song lyric, his desire to be the savior of all children that are in danger was sparked. He himself wants to retain the innocence of a child and have the privileges of an adult, something he comes to terms with in the rain beside Phoebe and the carrousel. “All the parents and mothers and everybody went over and stood right under the roof of the carrousel, so they wouldn’t get soaked to the skin or anything, but I stuck around on the bench for quite a while. I got pretty soaking wet…I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all of sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy” (Salinger, 114)The happiness he feels stems from his love of Phoebe and her innocence, but at the same time he is away from both her and the adults. He is the in between, wanting to belong to both groups at the same time. Holden’s inner thoughts about people, himself, and the world as a whole are in direct conflict with his outward persona. He has an unreasonable attachment to the concept of purity and innocence that he allows to dominate his life. Holden is an individual likely to be predisposed to depression and sorrow, as he constantly brings up events that cause him to feel “depressed”.