The Red Hunting Hat Analysis

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Throughout The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the red hunting hat presents itself multiple times as a sign of innocence for Holden, but also a sign of uniqueness, showing Holden and the rest of society are separate from each other. The red hunting hat represents innocence as a whole but also shows the uniqueness in Holden. It depicts itself as an important symbol which effects how the reader looks at Holden’s personality entirely.

The red hunting hat Holden Caulfield wears symbolizes his desire for innocence. The color of the hat shows the similarity between the hat and Allie, Holden’s deceased brother. Allie’s hair in the novel seems to be red as the color of Holden’s hat. Holden viewed Allie as a sign of innocence throughout the work:
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Holden shows his uniqueness by wearing this hunting hat in the first place, because most wouldn’t just wear it in public like he does. Holden even wears the hat uniquely, as shown: “I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I like it...” (52). The way Holden wears this hat and the hat in general shows how different society and him are. Holden describes multiple times that the hunting hat looks stupid, but the red hunting hat holds a major importance to him. As said before, it shows its unusual attraction to Holden, which fits his personality perfectly because both are very unusual. The red hunting hat also objects to people as a goofy-looking hat, as people view Holden as a weird “kid.” Because the cap is also a hunting cap, one could speculate what Holden is hunting, which is most likely his innocence or …show more content…
Holden often uses his hunting hat for protection such as when he was bored with Acklay: “What I did was, I pulled the old peak of my hunting hat around to the front, then pulled it way down over my eyes. That way, I couldn't see a goddam thing.” (21). Holden often uses it in the cold so he can have protection for his ears and the rest of his head. The red hunting hat symbolizes itself as a “security blanket” of a sort due to the fact that Holden wears it almost all the time and uses it for protection in uncomfortable situations, to shield himself from the outside world. At the end, Phoebe puts his red hunting cap on his head, saying that it gives him the protection that he needs, and that everyone needs some sort of protection in the world: "Then what she did--it damn near killed me--she reached in my coat pocket and took out my red hunting hat and put it on my head..." (212). It turns out Phoebe was right: “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway”

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