The Catcher in the Rye Literary Analysis

Paper Symbolism plays a big role in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. Salinger made placed many of them throughout the novel, but there are 3 big ones that very important to Holden’s character. Holden is a very difficult character to examine, he shows different sides of his personality in almost any situation and rarely describes how he wants to transfer into adulthood.

The 3 symbols in this story will give us a better look into the depths of his personality and his struggle to transition into adulthood. One of the first, and most obvious symbol is Holden’s Red Hunting Hat. Holden wears it everywhere. The hat is a symbol of his uniqueness and individuality. The reason being that the hat stands out and holden tells the reader that it is very ugly. The hat is also undesirable and always has second thoughts on wearing it. It shows that Holden wants to be different from everyone. He is very self conscious about the hat as well. He mentions when he decides to wear it and does not wear it if he is around people he knows. The hat symbolizes Holden’s need for isolation. Another obvious symbol, which is the novels name, is The Catcher in the Rye. title, this symbol merits close inspection. It is first mentioned in Chapter 16, when Holden notices a kid singing the Robert Burns song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye. ” In Chapter 22, when Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life, he tell her he wants to be a “Catcher In The Rye”.  Holden imagines a field of rye on a high cliff, full of children playing perched. He says he wants to protect the children from falling of the cliff by catching them as they were tumbling over.

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Phoebe points out that Holden has misheard the lyric. She tells him “It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye’? ”. Holden replies “I know it’s a poem by Robert Burns. He really did not know, and later admits that his sister was right He thinks the line is “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” but the correct lyric is “If a body meet a body, coming through the rye. ” The original song questions whether its wrong for two people to have a sexual encounter secretly even though they are not married or do not have a commitment to another. Its obvious that Holden wants to catch (protect) children’s innocence before they fall into the mature, adult world. The fact that Holden wants to save children is a sign that he cares for them and has a sense of compassion towards them. He obviously hates the adult world and wants to prevent any more perverted adult by trying to save the children from being exposed to any form of adult knowledge. This symbol shows Holden’s caring and loving side. The Ducks In The Central Park Lagoon is a symbol that everyone seems to notice upon first reading. Holden has a curiosity about where the ducks go during the winter. His curiosity shows a youthful side to his character. Throughout the book, Holden complains about everything and hates the world, but when he searches for the ducks it represents the curiosity and willingness to encounter this little mysteries.

There are several reasons why this symbol effects Holden so much. How the ducks survive in such a unhabitable environment connects with Holden’s understanding of his own situation. Also, the ducks show that some disappearing’s are only temporary. Traumatized and aware of how fragile life is, Holden is terrified by change and disappearance. The pond becomes a metaphor for Holden’s point of view of the world, because it is “partly frozen and not partly frozen. ” The pond is transforming into two states, just as Holden is in transition from childhood to adulthood. All 3 of these symbols are placed perfectly in the novel. They really make the reader notice it and take note of how Holden’s personality affects them. All of them represent a different aspect with different traits. Salinger uses these and more to make us know about Holden then what he actually tell us. These symbols are all perfect and are easy to identify.

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