Holden Caufield Symbolism

Words: 894
Pages: 4

“To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity” (William Arthur Ward). Holden Caufield, the troubled 16-year-old protagonist of ‘The Cather in the Rye’, written by J.D. Salinger, is in the stage of life where he must grow up into the world of adulthood but becomes a confused and socially neglecting individual throughout the process. Salinger incorporates numerous types of symbolism and leaves memorable scenes which questions the readers to deeply infer and truly understand the meanings the author has left behind in his work. In the repeated use of this literary device, the red hunting hat in particular is easily notable from the times it is introduced, reflecting Holden’s insecurity, alienation, …show more content…
The red hunting hat resembles the color of Ali’s hair, representing Holden’s effort to cling onto his childhood and reminding himself of the times he shared with his brother. Holden describes his world to be full of phonies with only a select amount of people which he considers to be different. Furthermore, Holden’s thoughts of his siblings as the non-phonies of the world influence him to wear the hat in order to imitate their innocence and purity in his time of adolescence. Holden realizes his necessity to grow up near the end and gives the hat to Phoebe, as he believes these traits should be held closer to his little sister and become The Catcher in the Rye himself. Although Phoebe returns the hat back to Holden, his childhood and teenage years can be inferred to be embedded into the red hunting as Salinger intentionally uses the color red to create nostalgic feelings for the protagonist. Every person goes through the process of maturation and within the times of desperation, some must let go of what they held precious. Holden’s red hunting hat symbolizes these changes as he becomes alienated because of his insecurities and longs to hold onto his childhood for he believes the innocence and purity of his siblings are the right ways of living life. The author’s use of symbolism with the red hunting hat reflects onto the next generations reading the novel as every teenager face similar situations countless times. Nevertheless, as Holden finds the answer and courage to solve his problems through “Caring - about people, about things, about life…” (Tracy McMillan) a new beginning waits for