was Peter Pan in Neverland also a catcher in the rye?

I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy.

in The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

5 responses to “was Peter Pan in Neverland also a catcher in the rye?

  1. I’ve had this same thought. Or is Holden just suffering from the complex? 🙂
    Did you know a new Peter Pan novel is out? It doesn’t contradict Barrie’s original stories like the other prequels and sequels. And it’s based on his idea for more Pan adventure!
    Look here: http://www.peterpansneverworld.com
    Thanks for the literary comparison! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment, Never Fairy. I’ll check it out.

    I don’t think Holden has a Peter Pan complex, though. It’s not that he wants to be a child forever (in fact, he says he’s the only grown up in the rye), but that he wants to preserve innocence, both in children, who he sees as pure, and in himself (Holden doesn’t want to be a phoney, and in a way I think he’s very pure.)

    When I was reading that chapter I thought of it more as a Messiah complex — and remember that Jesus too said we should be like little children. Holden really just wants to save everyone from corruption of the soul, to keep them from becoming as phoney as everyone else.

    And this was really what Peter Pan did. By providing children with the bliss of eternal childhood this is exactly what he did, catch them in the rye.

    Of course, Neverland wasn’t that pure of a place anyway. I stopped thinking of it as such when Peter said he wanted to kill the pirate. But I guess what that really goes to show is that you can’t really keep catching everyone; one shouldn’t be in the rye forever — unfortunately. If they want to go for the gold ring you shouldn’t stop them. Right, Holden?

  3. Wow. You’ve given this a lot of thought. 🙂
    Good for you. (Really.)
    It’s nice to see someone delving into Literature.

    Believe, always.

  4. I dont think Holden could be a messiah figure or have the messiah complex as you called it because the cosmogonic cycle says all protagonist or antagonist must go through a cycle also known as the hero cycle and to be considered a hero as the messiah is to be a savior/hero for a lack of better worlds and Holden does not complete his cycle because he does not grow or become a better person at the end of the book…

  5. sum1, why do you say Holden doesn’t grow? He definitely does. He realises that although he wants to “catch” children before they get lost, he can’t save everyone — and in fact, shouldn’t stop them from growing up and entering the adult world (“go for the golden ring”).

    Holden thinks he must save the world, which is why I think he suffers from the Messiah complex — where one thinks he will save the world! I don’t mean to say that he is an actual Messianic figure in the book.

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