Symbols in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

965 Words Jun 6th, 2014 4 Pages
Symbols in The Catcher in the Rye
In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger many symbols are used to show a deeper meaning for the people, objects and places Holden Caulfield comes in contact with during the story. Holden is often unable to connect to or make relationships with other people, and his encounters usually end with him alone and feeling insecure. Holden deals with these insecurities by looking for the phoniness in others. But his failures are something that he cannot truly run from, no matter how often he tries. Holden sees the innocence of childhood and dreams of protecting that innocence by being a catcher in the rye. But sooner or later Holden will realize that eventually children grow up. In The Catcher in the Rye
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Throughout the novel Holden struggles with his desire to keep children innocent and unadulterated. But ultimately, he fails.
Another symbol is the Museum. This place becomes a symbol of inevitable change that all people go through as they become adults and the permanence that Holden desires. Holden’s issue isn’t with physically getting older, it’s with the mental changes and loss of innocence that occur when one becomes an adult. Holden suggests this when he says, “The only thing that would be different would be you. Not that you’d be so much older or anything. It wouldn’t be that, exactly. You’d just be different, that’s all” (121). The never changing displays in the museum show a state of permanence that Holden finds comforting. He believes, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish…” (121). Throughout the book Holden is fascinated by children’s innocence yet disapproving of adult phoniness. The museum becomes a symbol of permanence amidst the change that Holden sees in people as they grow up and is something he battles with throughout the novel.
Finally the red hunting hat symbolizes his desire for friendship and isolation, and a way for him to hide from his problems. If Holden feels insecure, he

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