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Word Count: 478
JD Salinger uses Holden Caulfields anti-heroic characteristics to develop the theme of innocence and childhoodHolden is afraid of growing up and would prefer to remain an innocent child He seems unable to face the responsibilities that come as one gets older His continued flunking at school shows this They kicked me out I wasnt suppose to come back after Christmas vacation on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself at all Page 4 School is normally where young children learn to become responsible adult members of society but Holden rejects the values at Pency just as he did the other schools from which he was expelled Flunking school is a way Holden can hold on to his innocence and childhood instead of growing up Holdens relationship with Jane Gallagher also reveals his fear of growing up Nostalgia and fond childhood memories are pleasant for Holden His relationship with Jane was innocent even though they kissed Holden informs us it wasnt on the mouth Then she really started to cry and the next thing I knew I was kissing her all over-anywhere-her eyes her nose her forehead her eyebrows and all her ears-her whole face except her mouth and all She sort of wouold not let me get to her mouthPage 79 Jane represents a symbol of innocence in the eyes of Holden Throughout the novel Holden thinks of phoning Jane but is unable to talk to her probably because he is afraid of spoiling this innocence and childhood he feels with her Again this shows his fear of growing upThe second anti-heroic characteristic of Holden that develops the theme of Innocence and childhood is his childlike qualities Holdens innocence and childlike qualities are exposed when he tries to act out his perceptions of adult behaviour For example his initial attempts to get alcohol are unsuccessful and when he finally does get served he gets drunk and breaks his sisters present Then
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