Catcher In The Rye Symbols Analysis

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Symbols occur throughout the novel and represent aspects of Holden’s developing character. A symbol is a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract. Pencey Prep and Elkton Hills are examples of institutions that serve as symbols. Allie's left-handed baseball glove is a physically smaller but significant symbol in the novel. Holden's red hunting cap is another small artifact of symbolic meaning. In all these symbols, they represent aspects of Holden’s developing character.

Pencey Prep and Elkton Hills are examples of institutions that are symbols. Holden sees that those schools represent the phony, cruel world of those who run them. The advertisements for Pencey Prep are misleading. They show some fancy guy on a horse doing great feats. Holden says he has never even seen a horse at Pencey. The school's motto is hated by Holden: "Since 1888, we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men." Holden can think of one boy that fits the description, and they probably came to Pencey that way. For Holden, a better example of the Pencey preppie is his roommate, Stradlater, a womanizer who gets by on good looks and charm. Holden is being expelled for poor academic performance, but
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He bought it for one dollar in New York on the Saturday morning when he lost the fencing equipment. The cap is practical at times but is foolish-looking, with its extra-long bill and earflaps. It represents Holden's attraction to weird qualities, in objects as well as people, that others might miss. He realizes that the hat is unfashionable and occasionally is careful about who sees it, but he loves it anyway. He likes to wear it with the bill pointing to the back, as a baseball catcher might. For Holden, it is a reading cap as much as a protection against the cold. Because this is a hunting cap, we might think about what it is that Holden is
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