In J.D.Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, the narrator, Holden Caulfield, explains that his life's ambition is to save the innocent. But he does this by employing a powerful and vivid metaphor, one which paints a most compelling picture. Salinger uses deceptively simple and casual language to transport us there where Holden wants to be: on the edge of a cliff, at the end of a field of rye, in which kids are chasing each other.
“Anyway, 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 do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”
We feel what he feels.
We fear what he fears.
We want what he wants.
And we become him.