I was getting all nervous all of a sudden. I’m quite a nervous guy.” Holden puts the hat on as soon as he gets nervous and turns in to the peak. The hat also shows up at significant moments; writing the composition about Allie’s baseball mitt, staring at himself in the mirror and pretending to be tough after Stradlater punches him, yelling “Sleep tight, ya morons” down the corridor. Although, he takes it off when he’s on the train, going to a bar, in hotel lobbies, and so forth. So he’s all about the hat in private, but embarrassed and lacks confidence to wear it in public. In addition to those significant moments, he hints how he’s embarrassed wearing it throughout the story as he states “I took my red hunting hat… and put it on—I didn’t give a damn how I looked” and “I took my old hunting hat out… and put it on. I knew I wouldn’t meet anybody that knew me. As the story comes to an end, the hunting hat becomes an important part of the way Holden sees himself as an individual. He wants Phoebe to have the hat when he states “then I took my red hunting hat out of my coat pocket and gave it to her. She likes those crazy hats.” This is the hat that defines who he is because when he puts it on he can be as tough and as unique as he would like; just as Allie and Phoebe were, both being redheads. Although later when Phoebe gives back the hat, not only is she giving it back to Holden, but she’s demonstrating that she loves him as the individual that he is.
Throughout the novel there are many predicaments Holden faces and in as those moments pass his character transforms. The red hunting hat holds a great amount of significance for his transformation as it symbolizes the safety, embarrassment, and realization of who he actually is as an