The Symbolism Of Salinger Essay

1676 Words Nov 13th, 2015 7 Pages
The Symbolism of The Museum in The Catcher in the Rye
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger Holden Caulfield has many struggles in his life which he has to face alone, but the museums around New York City reveal what is underneath his cold, independent persona. The museum not only symbolizes Holden’s youthful spirit but also his true intelligence; through this symbol, Salinger suggests that childhood innocence is frequently stifled by the need to conform to social norms in school atmospheres.
In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden exhibits childlike tendencies throughout the entire book but they are most apparent when he is at the Museum of Natural History. Most people think of museums as a place for children go on a rainy day, which is one of the reasons he likes it so much. Holden says, “it always smelled like it was raining outside, even if it wasn’t” and then talk about how “cosy” it is in the museum auditorium(133). He talks about the museum like it is a second home. A place where he is safe and warm and happy. He never seems to have a bad memory about the museum since it is one of the only parts in the book where he talks like a little kid. He even makes the bad things seem like good things when he is at the museum. Particularly when he says the “puddles in the street [have] gasoline rainbows in them” or “Or you 'd heard your mother and father having a terrific fight in the bathroom”(135). Having a place that is so special that nothing ever bad happens in…

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