The Journey from innocence to understanding

Just as we travel on our own journeys through the growing of dreams to our successes or failures to make them come true, through endless unanswered questions and trials and errors, we often find ourselves searching for self amidst the noise and clamor of a confusing and challenging world.
Take for instance Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye” written by J.D. Salinger. Holden searches for meaning in a world of “phonies” following the experience of the death of his brother. As Holden weaves his way through one bad situation after another, he remains lost and alone in a dark world where he can find no light. As he drifts in and out of pain and confusion, his innocence is lost and he ultimately comes to understand there is hope to begin a new life.
Holden goes on a journey from innocence, confusion and frustration where he encounters life changing situations that reshape him, ultimately allowing him to realize that it could actually be okay. Throughout his journey, he searches for meaning and longs for home, passing through pain and darkness as he makes his way slowly toward the light that he has so much trouble finding.
And so, as Salinger did with Holden Caulfied, the writer will have his hero embark on a psychological, physical or emotional journey where he descends first into darkness before he is able to walk again in the light. Just as we do in real life, stepping from milestone to milestone, from challenge to challenge, often falling here and there along the way but ultimately getting back up on our feet, our hero takes us on his journey from innocence to understanding, from darkness to light- showing us that the attempt itself- the experiences we encounter and the lessons we learn- the journey- is actually the success we seek. As each of us should in real life, our protagonist must change in some way by the time he reaches the end of his journey.

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