In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield is fearful of change and growing into adulthood. This fact is quite obvious due to his attitudes towards the following symbols. Each of them represents a way of demonstration of how Holden cannot progress from his childhood states. Throughout the novel the narrator refers back to the certain symbols on multiple occasions. Among other symbols, Salinger makes it obvious that there are three key symbols that are able to demonstrate Holdens fear towards change and to exhibit his lack of maturity.These three key symbols are Allie his younger brotyher who pssed away, the ducks and the museum.
Allie, Holden's young brother who died several years beforehand is a major symbol throughout the novel. When Holden remembers incidents from his past involving him, his attitude changes, such as when he writes the composition about Allie's baseball glove or when Holden remembers breaking his hand after punching all of the windows after Allie’s passing. "I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddamn windows with my fist, just for the hell of it”, (Salinger 39). He feels that Allie was one of the few people who was normal in a world full of phonies. More importantly, Allie represents the innocence and childhood that Holden strives to find throughout his three-day journey. In his opinion, Allie stands for the purity that Holden looks for in the world. Holden admits that he admires Allie more than he admires Jesus and even prays to Allie at one point, rather than to him. Thus, Allie is Holden's role model, whom he judges the rest of the world against. When he dies, this event nearly wrecks Holden's life. Now as a depressed and lonely teenager, Holden expresses his grief by showing constant anger towards his friends, especially when he goes on a date with Sally Hayes in chapter 17.
Topic sentence- A symbol that Holden always uses to make himself feel less vulnerable and make himself able to deal with the struggles is the hunting hat.
Then we had to look at certain specific key passages, starting with the first time we see the hat. Holden tells us (towards the beginning of Chapter Three) that he bought the hat in New York that morning after he left all the fencing equipment on the subway and pissed off the entire team. So we know he's feeling particularly vulnerable at the time, though Holden would never admit to such a state as vulnerability.
Take a look at when Holden wears the hat, and when he doesn't. He puts the hat on at important moments – writing the composition about Allie's baseball mitt, staring at himself in the mirror…