Theme Of Symbolism In Catcher In The Rye

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In the Catcher in the Rye, the author J.D. Salinger uses a variety of symbols to represent the struggles and challenges the main characters and narrator Holden Caulfield faces throughout the novel. Through the use of symbolism, Salinger is able to give additional meaning to the plot beyond what is being described by Holden. Through Holden 's desire to be a catcher in the rye, his goal of protecting the innocence of children is conveyed, but the golden rings on the carousel represents his realization that this is an unrealistic goal and also unfair to the children. Holden’s reaction to the profanity he sees on the walls at Phoebe’s school and at the museum also represents his desire to protect the innocence of children. The symbol of the red hunting hat helps reveal Holden’s desire to be an …show more content…
When Holden is in Phoebe’s school dropping off a note for her, he sees that "somebody 's written "F--- you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy" (201). And when he thinks about whom might have written this, he immediately assumes that it is some "perverted bum" (201). Holden’s obsession with the pureness and innocence of children, prevents him from realizing that it was probably a student that wrote the profanity on the wall. Later, while he is in the tomb of the museum he sees profanity on the wall again and recognizes that "you can 't ever find a place that 's nice and peaceful, because there isn 't any" (204). Holden begins to grasp that no matter what, corruption will always exist in the world and "trying to rub out all the 'f--- you ' signs in the world" is impossible (204). Instead of pursuing his dream of being a catcher in the rye and saving all the children of the world, he can mentor a few younger children, such Phoebe and the boys at the museum, and act as a good big brother and role model to

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