Essay on J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye

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J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye

The novel The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger, contains many complex symbols, many of the symbols in the book are interconnected. A symbol is an object represents an idea that is important to the novel. I believe the most important symbol in this novel is Holden’s idea of being the “catcher in the rye”.

Holden Caulfield, the main character in the novel, is not the typical sixteen year old boy. Holden has many characteristics that aren’t typical of anyone that I know. Holden is very afraid of growing up. He feels the adult world is “phony”, everyone in it, and everything associated with it. Holden never actually states that he is afraid of growing up, or that he hates the idea
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In Chapter 21 Holden decides to visit his sister Phoebe. Phoebe is much younger than Holden, and loves her older brother dearly. Phoebe does not agree with Holden’s reluctance to grow up though, she actually gets mad at him. Holden has been kicked out of countless private schools, and after being kicked out of Pency Prep, he goes to visit Phoebe in the middle night, to avoid being seen by his parents. When she first sees him she is very excited, but then she realizes the only reason that he would be home early would be if he had gotten kicked out of school. For the rest of the time he is talking to her in her room practically the only thing that she says is “Daddy’s gonna kill you.” After she gets mad at him about it, he thinks that Phoebe stops listening and if she is, she does not comprehend what he’s trying to say, it is then that Holden says two of the most important things in the entire novel.

When Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to be when he’s older, Holden responds with two answers that let the reader get to know way more about him, and many of his intentions much better. The first thing he says is that he wouldn’t want to be a lawyer like their father. But the only way he’d want to be a lawyer is to held save innocent people and do pure things of that sort, even then he’s not sure if he’d be doing it to save innocent people, or just to look mature and responsible to other adults. Here we can see