J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: The Symbolism Behind the Book

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J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: The Symbolism Behind the Book The Catcher in the Rye is written by J.D. Salinger. This book in particular is closely based on the life of Salinger. The symbols in this book are very highly developed and have a lot to do with the development of Holden's character and also explain how he feels about certain things in his life. The three most important symbols in this book are ducks in the pond in Central Park, the speech and discussion about digression at Mr. Antolini's house, and, of course, the symbolism behind the title, the catcher in the rye. The following will be an in-depth analysis of the symbolism behind the book, the Catcher in the Rye. The first symbolic event I would like to discuss is the conversation that Holden has with his old English teacher, Mr. Antolini. This certain event happens in chapter 24. They started talking about the classes that Holden failed. One in particular was the class called Oral Expression. Holden told Antolini about how much he hated that class. He said he hated it so much because of something called ‘digression.' He told Antolini that the oral expression was a class where you would get up in front of the class and make a speech on a selected topic. The point was to not go off topic. Every time someone did off topic, the whole class was supposed to yell ‘digression!' at them. Holden was one of the guys who often got yelled digression to. He got so frustrated that he would just give up. Holden explains to Mr. Antolini about a classmate named Richard Kinsella. He also went off topic a lot, but Holden said it was better when he did go off topic because it was always more interesting. He says " ‘ I mean it's dirty to keep yelling ‘Digression!' at him when he's all nice and excited…' " This quote is very significant to the understanding of Holden. When he says it is dirty to yell digression at someone when they are getting excited about something, he is really relating it to his personal life. He probably thinks it is rude for people to be judging him and to be telling him what to do when his life goes off track a little bit. This digression conversation proves how messed up Holden's life really is.
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