Analysis Of Salinger 's ' The Rye '

1561 Words Sep 21st, 2015 7 Pages
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger takes the reader on a journey through the main character’s life, Holden Caulfield, as we watch his mental health deteriorate because he cannot accept his transition into adulthood. As Holden ventures through the streets of New York after being kicked out of his school, the reader is shown how mentally unstable he is, and is able to experience his road to acceptance. Salinger has managed this through the use of symbols and recurring devices that represent the themes of the novel such as alienation as a form of self-protection, the phoniness of the adult world, the uncertainty of change, and letting go of childhood innocence. The devices that Salinger uses are Holden’s red hunting hat, Pencey Prep, the Museum of Natural History, and the carrousel and the gold ring at the zoo.

Holden’s red hunting hat displays the theme of alienation as a form of self-protection as he always uses it to isolate himself and be different. Holden’s self-alienation causes instability, and so he mainly wears the hat when he is feeling vulnerable to protect himself. “I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils. It only cost me a buck.” Holden was feeling uncomfortable about leaving the equipment on the subway because he knew that the members of the fencing team were mad at him, so buying the hat made him feel more confident and reassured when having to face them. He doesn’t want…
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