The symbols in The Catcher in the Rye and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” prove that change cannot be avoided. The Catcher in the Rye has important symbols that show change does occur, no matter how badly one wants to avoid it. For example, the Museum of Natural History contains displays that Holden is enthralled by. In the museum, there is glass that keeps artifacts out of time and decay (Bloom, J.D. Salinger 104). For this specific reason, Holden likes the museum. He states, “The best thing though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (Salinger 157) and “Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (Salinger 158). Holden wishes to live in a fantasy world, “a world where nothing changes, where everything is simple, understandable, and infinite” (Chen). Holden wants to shelter children from the adult world (Chen). In Chapter 16, the catcher in the rye finally appears. This is also a symbol for what Holden would like to be when he grows older. He pictures a group of many kids playing in a field of rye, where it is his job to catch them from falling off the cliff. This shows Holden’s love for childhood and his need to preserve it in any way he can. According to Alsen, “The way Holden explains why he wants to be the catcher in the rye shows the kindness and unselfishne...
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... up. All of nature is almost “golden.” Once Adam and Eve have committed sin in the garden, it is no longer considered the place one has pictured it to be. No one stopped Adam and Eve from committing their sin, but it still happened. Sin doesn’t have to be necessarily bad; it can be good. Their sin has given people the gift of life, but “purity is lost when knowledge is gained” (Cutrer).
The literary device of symbols is an important aspect in The Catcher in the Rye and “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” including the characterization of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye and setting in “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” These literary devices are all pieced together to help convey the idea that change is inevitable. Frost conveys the sense that Holden’s dream is impossible. Coinciding life and the world that are constantly changing, one’s dreams may alter too, making change unavoidable.
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