Catcher In The Rye Passage Analysis

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In Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is conflicted about his next step since the death of his younger brother. The ducks that Holden discusses on multiple occasions are used as symbolic representations of his journey to growing up. Because Holden is stuck, he cannot move on from the death of his brother, Allie. Holden’s concern and search for the ducks in the frozen pond in Central Park symbolizes his liminal state of mind: like the ducks, he has to change his attitude towards life when his unprocessed grief for his brother has literally frozen him in place.
Holden first raises the question of the ducks when Mr. Spencer, his history teacher at Pencey Prep, challenges him about his schoolwork; it is clear that his thoughts about the
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He relates himself to the frozen pond, as well as the ducks because he finds his ideas and thoughts are centered around this pond. Holden is determined to figure out where the ducks go because he is looking at them to figure out what he needs to do, what his next step is. He wants to know “where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over” (60). Holden is trying to deal with the unprocessed grief by inquiring about the safety of the ducks. Holden wants to make sure the ducks are okay because no one is there to do the same for him. For example, Holden is exasperated when he yells “They can’t just ignore the ice. They can’t just ignore it” (82). Holden knows on the inside that he cannot continue to avoid the melancholy from Allie, but he does not know how to overcome it. Holden expresses these feelings through his encounters with the ducks and the frozen pond. The death of AIlie left Holden feeling unsettled. Holden explains how he “...felt so lonesome, all of a sudden. I almost wished I was dead” (48). Holden’s little brother was a big piece of his life; because his sheer distress when he died is illustrated when Holden describes the time he “slept in the garage the night he died, and ... broke all the goddam windows” (39). Holden was clearly distraught and could not grasp the fact that Allie was gone forever. Because of this doubt and confusion, he is uncertain about his