Catcher in the Rye

The Symbol of Allie in the book Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger is very important. Allie links to the theme of being able to stay young and carefree forever. Due to the fact that Allie died as a child he no longer can grow up and he does not have to face the problems that come along with it. Holden’s view of Allie starts out as Holden not being able to accept his death. His view of Allie changes into him accepting the death and realizing that Allie can never come back. Allie represents not having to deal with the problems and decisions of the adult world.

When Holden first talks about his Brother Allie’s death, he starts to talk about how Allie was the nicest most intelligent one. He talks about how Allie’s baseball mitt “had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere” (38). Allie writing the poems on his glove so he has something to read in the outfield shows that Allie was just being a kid. He was being carefree; he wrote the poems on the glove so he would keep from being bored. Holden also thinks of Allie when Sonny leaves. He starts to think of a time when they were just kids when he would not let Allie come to Bobby Fallon’s house with him. Holden then starts to talk to Allie telling him to “get your bike and meet me in front of Bobby’s house” (99). He says that he thinks about it whenever he becomes extremely depressed. Holden regrets not taking his brother with him because they were both kids and it really would not have made any difference.

Holden’s view of Allie changes from the beginning to the end of the book. When Holden is talking to Phoebe, Phoebe asks what one thing he likes is and Holden responds with, Allie. Phoebe then goes on to say that Allie does not count because he is dead. Holden’s response to this is “Just because someone is dead, you don’t stop liking them, for God’s sake” (171). Holden has not accepted his brother’s death; he does not want to believe that Allie is not coming back. Holden does not let go of the memory of Allie because it is the only thing that keeps him going. When Holden is crossing the streets he keeps saying to Allie, “Allie, don’t let me disappear. Don’t let me disappear” (198); then, whenever he would come to the end of the street he would thank Allie. This is the last time that Holden makes any reference to Allie. At this point Holden has finally started to realize that nothing can ever be the same forever, and that he must just keep going on with his life.

Holden understands that everything and everyone changes and grows up. When he is at the carousal with Phoebe, he says, “if they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them” (211). What Holden means by this, is that you cannot stop people from growing up. The only way to stop aging and stay a child forever is death. Holden was so caught up with Allie’s death because Allie no longer is growing up, and he does not have to face the hardships of being an adult. Allie does not have to live in a society “surrounded by phonies” (13). Holden finally comes to terms with the fact that he must grow up and move on.

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The way Holden views growing up and Allie changes through the book Catcher in the Rye. At first Holden cannot come to grip with the fact that everyone grows up and eventually looses the innocence and freedom of being a child. He keeps referring to his brother Allie, because Allie died when he was a child and never had to grow up. Holden soon figures out that change is inevitable for everyone; no one can stay an innocent carefree child unless they die. Holden finally realizes that everyone has to deal with the adult world, and must move on from being a child.

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