What Does Holden's Hat Symbolize

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In the novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, one of the most significant symbols is the main character, Holden Caulfield, red hunting hat. His hat represents his protection from the world, adulthood, and his different characteristics. He often will not wear it in front of other people because it alienates him from the normal crowd. Holden recognizes that he is different from people; yet, he tries to cover that up, usually using his red hunting hat. Throughout the novel, Holden’s hat hides his unique perspectives and helps him to feel protected from both the world and adulthood. To begin with, Holden’s red hunting hat is a symbol for his protection against the world. The first time that he uses his hat to make him feel secure is when his roommate, Stradlater, punches Holden in the face. His initial thought after he is punched, is to find his hat. He most likely thinks of this because his hat provides a sense of comfort for him, similar to a young child and their blanket. “I couldn’t find my my goddam hunting hat anywhere, Finally I found it. It was under the bed. I put it on, and turned the old peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I went over and took a look at my stupid face in the mirror (Salinger 45). This evidence demonstrates Holden’s need to feel protected from the world and all his problems, Not only does Holden used his hat to protect himself, he also uses it to try to protect Phoebe, his younger sister. In his attempt to try to shield Phoebe

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