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Catcher In The Rye Gray Hair Analysis

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An important symbol in “The Catcher in the Rye” was the gray hair located one side of Holden’s head, acting as a physical symbol of Holden’s inevitable transition from an innocent child to a mature adult. Holden described himself as being “Six foot two and a half and... gray hair...the one side of my head-the right side-is filled with millions of gray hairs” (Page 9). His hair on one side being gray is a way of symbolizing how, although he acts like a child in many instances, he could also be an intelligent and knowledgeable person, and was transitioning into adulthood. His gray hair also was a characteristic that he could not control and had to learn to embrace, just like how he had to learn to embrace the way he would become an adult in the…show more content…
He would wear the hat during instances where he would be defiant, such as when he left Pencey Prep. He said that “I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it… then I yelled..”Sleep tight, ya morons!” “ (page 52). Holden was different from most other people, and he wore the hat to make him feel distinctive and unique, as he left Pencey Prep and yelled down the corridor. The hat gave him the boost of confidence because its unconventional looks fit with his unconventional actions. A major example of this is prevalent when Ackley mentions the hat to him. Ackley said, “Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for chrissake.. that's a deer shooting hat.” Holden responded with “Like hell it is...This is a people shooting hat” (Page 22). Holden, by saying it is a ‘people shooting hat’, symbolizes how the hat protects him from others and separates him from others by ‘shooting them down’ and detaching himself from others. While staying in New York, Holden would wear that same red hunting cap in order to feel fearless. He states that “I took my red hunting hat out of my pocket and put it on - I didn’t even give a damn how it looked” (Page 88). The red hunting hat was a way of giving him pride when he would otherwise feel insecure. He
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