Catcher in the Rye Essay

Submitted By studiousd2
Words: 733
Pages: 3

The Catcher in the Rye In “The Catcher in The Rye”, author J.D Salinger uses a plethora of meaningful symbols that help main character, Holden Caufield, find his true purpose in a world full of phonies. A symbol is something significant that represents something else. Symbols are used everyday in our world whether we know it or not. There are three really important symbols in the book that are connected to a greater aspect in Holden’s life. The second most important symbol in Holden’s world is his red hunting hat. The red hunting hat has two purposes, depending on which way Holden decides to wear it. Throughout the book, Holden wears the hat with the brim to the front and to the back. When the hat is facing forward, Holden is searching for truth in the phony world he lives in, but the main reason Holden wears it to the front is because it is a sense of protection in his daily world of chaos. For example, when it was raining, Holden said, “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection in a way, but I got soaked anyway (Salinger 212-213).” Holden is obviously alright with the fact that he got soaked because the hat that he loves helped him a lot. However, if the hat is facing to the back, Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye. He wants to be able to catch kids from falling off the cliff of rye grass. Figuratively, he wants to catch them from becoming phonies when he himself may be becoming a phony. Even though Holden is being a little hypocritical, “He put his red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way he liked it (52).” This was the best way for him to wear it since he wants to be the catcher in the rye. Holden is a negative person; therefore, there are more things that Holden doesn’t like than things that he does like. However, another thing that Holden does like and finds enjoyment from is the museum. The museum is symbolic of never change. “Everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move…. Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different is you (121).” Holden liked the fact that you could go to the museum thousands of times and everything would be exactly the same. It troubles Holden that he has changed each time he returns, while the museum’s displays remain completely the same. The museum presents Holden with a vision of life that he can understand. Holden can only wish to live a life and in a world that never changes. He wants life to remain frozen just like the display cases in the museum. The most important symbol in the book and in Holden’s world is the profanity on the school