Essay On The Catcher In The Rye

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Every child wishes to grow up without fully comprehending that adulthood is a cruel reality. Once that child becomes an adult, he immediately wishes for a younger, simplified lifestyle. Through the use of symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger demonstrates the theme that a manipulative and corrupt adult world revokes childhood innocence. The red hunting hat symbolizes individuality that the adult world criticizes. Holden, “swung the old peak way around to the back” because he “liked it that way” (Salinger 21). This indicates that, in private, Holden expresses himself in whatever way he chooses. He rarely wears the hat in public because he wishes society will accept him as normal. This is not Holden’s ideal way of life because he…show more content…
Holden confides in Phoebe his dream occupation: “I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all... that's the only thing I'd really like to be” (Salinger 191). The significance of this quote is that when asked what he would like to be, Holden does not name a profession, but a catcher in the rye. Instead of working at a real job, he wants to save children from losing their innocence and having to deal with adult responsibilities. Holden exemplifies being a catcher in the rye when he does not sleep with Sunny. When Sunny takes off her coat, Holden notices she is wearing a green dress, and he thinks nothing of it until she takes the dress off. The dress symbolizes innocence, and Holden feels “sort of sad” when he hangs it in the closet (Salinger 107). Holden does not take advantage of Sunny because, “she was depressing. Her green dress hanging in the closet and all” (Salinger 107-108). Figuratively, hanging the green dress in the closet symbolizes how Sunny temporarily removes the remains of her innocence and keeps it protected while she does her job. The trouble is, Sunny has lost her innocence and thus cannot recollect it. This is yet another example of the impractical aspiration to preserve
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