Essay on Meaningful Symbols in the Rye by J.D Salinger

537 Words3 Pages
Catcher in the Rye”, by J.D Salinger, is about a boy named Holden Caulfield. He thinks the adult world is a bunch of “phonies.” The novel contains many key symbols that help develop the novel, and to help show Holden Caulfield’s point of view on the way he sees the world. Three of these key symbols include: Holden Caulfield’s red hunting hat, the ducks in the Central Park lagoon, and The Museum of Natural History. One of the most important and recognizable symbols in the novel is Holden Caulfield’s red hunting hat. It symbolizes his uniqueness. The way he wears the hat gives off an impression that he wants to be very different from everyone around him. He “swung the old peak way around to the back.” This may…show more content…
The ducks left the pond. This symbolizes exactly where Holden is in his life right now. He left his childhood, and is now a part of the adult world. He desperately wishes that he was like the fish in the pond. He wish he can “just stay there,” and be an innocent child forever. Finally, another key symbol in the novel is The Museum of Natural History. It symbolizes a perfect and pristine world that Holden desires to live in. Holden enjoys museums because they are unchanging. In a museum, everything is so peaceful and simple, an ideal place to live for Holden Caulfield. One of his biggest fears and challenges is change. For example, this is the reason why he is so scared and terrified to call Jane Gallagher, a girl who he finds very attractive and is one of the few people that Holden actually admires. He is afraid that if he calls her, she would be a changed person, and that is the last thing he wants…change. This symbol shows the main purpose of the novel, too. Holden is so afraid of surrendering to the life of an adult that he has such a difficult time figuring out reality. However, sometimes he shows his change into maturity by getting drunk and lusting for sex.The Museum of Natural History represents innocence and purity in the novel. Like the museum, Holden does not want to change. He wants to be just like the displays in the museum: pristine and permanent. He believes that everything “should just stay the way they are.” Holden wants to
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