Symbolism In Catcher In The Rye

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Rahul Mohan MohanAnderson1 Peter Anderson Mrs. Crase English Period 4 5/8/14 “Hunting” for Childhood "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... I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all." 173 Each and every one of us imagines a place and situation where they are happy and needed. Holden, the main character in J.D.Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, always lives in this imaginary place. We all look for support from others to cope with the challenging circumstances in our life. Holden's support is the red hunting hat. The red hunting hat is mentioned quite a few times, following a pattern, suggesting that it is not just a piece of his attire, but an important motif and symbol. When Holden gives his hat to Phoebe at the end of the book, he says "don't let me disappear" 198 looking up to his dead brother Allie in the sky. The passing of the hat is symbolic of his desire to protect his sister with his prized hat just as he imagined that the hat protected him. Holden's red hunting hat also symbolizes the fight between himself, wanting to remain a child forever, using all the protection it offers, and his lingering desire to enter the adults' world. First, when Holden watches Phoebe go around in the carousel, it starts raining and he himself admits that his "red hunting hat really gave [him] a sort of protection, in a way" 212-213. Holden's hat symbolizes protection from childhood - not just from the sun or weather. Interestingly, Holden likes to wear the hat backwards. There are many special occasions where Holden wears the hat. For example, he wears it when he is writin... ... middle of paper ... ... stand out through his hat - if someone doesn't like him it will end up being his hat's fault and not his own. Holden uses the hat as an excuse for being different while also trying to fit in. MohanAnderson3 In conclusion, Holden grows as a person through the many life experiences described in the novel. Through all these life experiences, the red hat is always with him. Ultimately, Holden realizes that even if it is not possible to remain a child forever, his red hunting hat can still help him in the transition to adulthood. Phoebe puts the red hat back on Holden at the end of novel since she wants to make it easier for him to forget about being a child with the help of the red hunting hat. The red hunting hat helps him to come to terms with himself . Works Cited Salinger, J. D. The catcher in the rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1991.
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