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The title of a book can often illuminate the central idea of the book In The Catcher in the Rye the meaning of the title becomes clear when Holdens sister asks him what he wants to be and he says that all he wants to be is the catcher in the rye from a popular childrens song In this role he envisions himself as the lone guardian watching a group of children playing on a cliff he alone can save them from plummeting into the abyss Salinger 173 At this point it becomes apparent to the reader that the title The Catcher in the Rye reveals Holdens desire to protect the innocent a desire which can be seen in his relationships with his family children Jane Gallagher and other complete strangers and even in his observations of inhuman things Holdens desire to protect the innocent is seen throughout the book in his relationships with members of his family In fact one of the very first indications that Holden treasures innocence above all can be found in the first chapter of the novel when he calls his brother DB a prostitute for going out to Hollywood to write scripts rather than continuing to write short stories Salinger 2 DB gave up pure art in a simple form writing short stories in order to conform to a world Holden sees as phoney and corrupt Holden cannot forgive his brother for destroying the innocence of his art Holdens relationship with his other brother Allie also demonstrates his desire to protect and preserve the innocent Allie is dead at the beginning of the novel and as such he represents an unchanging innocence a saint ideal to Holden Baumbach 68 Throughout the novel the reader is reminded of Holdens attachment to this dead saint ideal known as Allie When Phoebe asks Holden to name something he likes a lot one of the few things he can think of is
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