Symbols In Catcher In The Rye

Words: 629
Pages: 3

Throughout The Catcher In the Rye, written by J.D Salinger, several symbols are revealed in the novel which unveils the main character, Holden Caulfield's, inner self. These symbols represents the values and characteristics of Holden but also contributes to his fear of growing up and keeping his innocence. He feels that as you get older you become more fake or “phony” therefore losing your innocence. Every adult he knows is a phony to him, and once someone becomes a certain age they become one. This theme occurs multiple times throughout his journey from Pencey to New York and finishing in California. The three symbols that contributes to the theme of innocence is The Museum of Natural History, the curse words scribbled on the school walls and the catcher on the rye.

Many of Holden's good memories comes from The Museum of Natural History. There were many things that he enjoyed seeing, such as the animals and artifacts the Indians made in ancient times but the major reason why he liked the museum is that everything stayed the same. He likes the idea that everything inside would “freeze in time”, something that he wishes he could do. Holden explains how “Nobody’d move… Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different is you.” (135) People change as they get older and in Holden's eyes that means becoming
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“ I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that's the only thing I’d really like to be.” (191) This job means that he has to keep the children from falling off the edge of the cliff while playing. The kids portray childhood while the cliff portrays becoming an adult and losing their innocence. His job is to catch any of the children that falls off, with a large mitt, which represents saving these kids from growing up and becoming a “phony.” It's not just the children that he wants protect but himself as well. He wants to keep himself away from the harsh adult