Figurative Language In Catcher In The Rye

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Closed off, no stable relationships, no will to maintain having friends how are we supposed to see what Holden feels? In the Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, Holden is afraid of being open with people and not willing to reveal his true thoughts. Throughout the story, Holden’s fears are revealed using strong figurative language. Salinger uses powerful symbolism to show Holden’s inner thoughts and fears of death and change. Holden is afraid of death and also afraid of change and yet he knows he must grow up. The Museum of Natural History symbolizes his fear of change as it remains unchanged as time progresses, he finds safety in the unchanging, the mummies symbolize his fear of death. Holden finds safety in the museum because it always …show more content…

The worry of what happens to the ducks makes him question where they go. “‘Hey, listen,’ I said. ‘You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?’ I realized it was only one chance in a million. He turned around and looked at me like I was a madman. ‘What’re ya tryna do, bud?’ he said. ‘Kid me?’ ‘No - I was just interested, that’s all,’” (78-79). The curiosity of the ducks in the frozen water shows his fear of death, Holden is worried that they have died. Holden wonders if someone comes to help the ducks. “‘the lagoon. That little lake, like, there. Where the ducks are. You know.’ ‘Yeah, what about it?’ ‘Well, you know the ducks that swim around in it? In the springtime and all? Do you happen to know where they go in the wintertime, by any chance?’... I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away,” (107). Holden’s concern for how the ducks survive through the winter, if someone helps them, reveals his fear of being alone. In comparison to the ducks he also needs to be taken care of. The ducks in the Central Park lagoon symbolize Holden’s fear of death and being alone and that he also needs to be taken care …show more content…

Holden is nervous and uses his hat as safety. “I pulled the peak of my hunting hat around to the front all of a sudden,for a change. I was getting sort of nervous,” (44). He was scared of what was going to happen next so he pulled his hat on correctly with the peak above his face to shelter himself. He puts on his hunting hat when he is afraid and needs protection. The red hunting hat is a precious item to him. His little sister Phoebe is also very precious to him.“Then I took my hunting hat out of my coat pocket and gave it to her… She didn’t want to take it, but I made her,” (233). Holden gives his hat to his sister Phoebe because it is his source of protection and he loves her and wants to protect her. Phoebe is young and he wants to protect her from physical danger and from growing up and losing her innocence. Holden’s red hunting hat is a symbol of protection and Holden uses his a hat to protect Phoebe’s innocence.
The powerful symbolism used by Salinger reveals Holden’s inner thoughts and fears. Holden’s fear of change is symbolized by the constancy of the Museum of Natural History. The mummies symbolize His fear of death. The ducks in the Central Park lagoon show he is afraid to die and be left alone and he needs someone to take care of him. Protection is represented by Holden’s red hunting hat that he uses to protect Phoebe’s innocence. Holden has many fears and Salinger use strong

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