Symbolism Essay: Symbolism In Catcher In The Rye

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Symbolism in Catcher in the Rye In Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger offers the reader a glimpse into the mind of a young teen protagonist, Holden Caulfield, as he seeks to establish his identity. Catcher in the Rye is laced with clues of Holden’s struggle with the rite of passage. Throughout Catcher in the Rye, symbolism illustrates Holden’s struggle with transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. One of the first and most important examples of symbolism found in the novel is the title Catcher in the Rye. At the beginning of the story the title holds little meaning for the reader but when Holden explains what he wants to be when he grows up the title becomes a symbol of Holden himself and his struggle to transition to an adult. …show more content…
This idea is symbolized when Holden revisits the museum and school. This is shown through the graffiti at the school and museum. When Holden goes back to visit the museum he notices the writing of the f-word on the walls. He tries desperately to get it off after thinking of little kids seeing that. He also does the same once he goes to the school and finds that cuss words are written all over the building as well. As he tries to scrub the cuss words off when he comes across one that is carved into the wall. Holden then realizes what he is doing is useless no matter how hard he tries there will always be more. The represents innocence being tainted by the adult world and no matter how hard someone tries to preserve the innocences something will come along and ruin it. However towards the end of the story even though Holden realizes innocence is not permanent he still yearns to maintain his own innocence. This is symbolized when he takes his sister Phoebe to her favorite ride, the carousel. The carousel is the symbol of youth and the golden ring is adulthood. Even though he takes comfort in Phoebe riding the carousel he still feels the need to protect her from falling as she reaches for the ring symbolizing he still views adulthood as a threat to innocence. (Salinger

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