The Catcher in the Rye

Symbols of Catcher

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In literature, a symbol is an object, name, color or anything an author brings to the reader's attention that conveys an idea or some theme of the novel. There are numerous symbols in The Catcher in the Rye. One of the most significant symbols in the book is Holden's red hunting hat. He likes it because he wants to stand apart from others, but at the same time, wearing it makes him appear ridiculous to others, thereby increasing his isolation. It also serves as an indicator and perhaps a motivator of Holden's moods and actions-when he wears the peak to the front, he is aggressive or agitated; when it is to the back, he is passive and calm. Another important symbol are the ducks in the pond. After thinking about them throughout most of the story, he comes ot realize that change is not permanent, as the ducks alwauys return after the winter. They may also be meant to represent his brother Allie in that the ducks are vulnerable to the climate, as Allie was vulnerable to disease. The frozen pond is symbolic of Holden's world which is hostile and unwelcoming, as he makes attempt after attempt to make a connection with the people he meets on his way back home. Another significant symbol is the museum. The museum is one of Holden's favorite places to be because nothing in it ever changes. This is his fantansy-that everything in life stays the same, thus, revealing his fear of becoming an adult, his losing Allie and his desire to keep children innocent and pure-to be "the catrcher in the rye."