Use Of Symbolism In The Catcher In The Rye and The Great Gatsby

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Use Of Symbolism In “The Catcher In The Rye” and “The Great Gatsby”

There are many writers like James Joyce, Patrick Kananach and Thomas Moore who use symbolism to convey and support indirect meaning in their writings. J.D. Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald both use symbolism in similar ways. In both “The Catcher In The Rye” and “The Great Gatsby”, the authors used symbolism to convey emotions and reality.

In “The Catcher In The Rye”, J.D. Salinger uses Holden’s red hunting cap, the exhibits at the Museum of Natural History and “kings in the back row” as symbols whose meanings help tell the story. Holden’s red hunting hat stands for Holden’s disapproval of adult society and phonies. Although, Holden and his hat are out of place
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In chapter 4, the kings in a game of checkers are used to demonstrate Holden’s child-like nature. Holden tells Stradlater that when Jane played checkers she always kept her kings in the back row because she like the way they looked there. Holden asks Stradlater to ask Jane if she still keeps all her kings in the back row. This must be interesting to Holden because he talks about it throughout the novel. The row of kings also show how Holden can’t separate his past from his present.

Like Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses may symbols in “The Great Gatsby” to reveal the characters’ emotions and values. The main and first symbol used is the green light on the end of Daisy’s dock. Fitzgerald introduces Jay Gatsby at the end of chapter one as Gatsby stands with his “stretched out arms toward ….a single green light, minute and far away…” The green light on the other side of the water symbolizes Gatsby’s desires, dreams and goals. The light, however, is far away and unreachable, like his goals and dreams. The green light conveys the reality that Gatsby will never get to be with Daisy and that she is not the one.

Chapter two takes the reader through an area between West Egg and New York the author calls a valley of ashes. This is an area used to dump garbage and industrial ashes. The valley of ashes represents places and people who the rich think are disposable. Myrtle and George Wilson are poor and they live in the valley of
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