Holden Caulfield's Red Hunting Hat Analysis

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Holden Caulfield's Red Hunting Hat is a symbol of his individual personality, of protection, and attachment to childhood whether he is wearing it or giving it to someone else. Holden puts on his Red Hunting Hat around different people because he cares about how his appearance looks to others. While walking in New York, Holden, "...put on this hat that I'd bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks" (17). Holden bought the hat right after he lost all the foils for fencing on the subway. The way Holden wore it with the peak of the hat all the way to the back looks unusual, but Holden likes it that way since it makes him unique to the rest of the people. Unusual as it looks though, Holden only puts on the hat…show more content…
As Holden gets ready to leave, "Then I took my hunting hat out of my coat pocket and gave it to her. She likes those kinds of crazy hats" (Salinger 180). So when Holden gives his Red Hunting Hat to Phoebe, he is passing the protection of adulthood which is the innocence of childhood to her. In turn, Holden reaches adulthood. Toward the end of the book, Holden realizes that children will have to grow up and he cannot stop that. While Holden watches Phoebe ride the carousel, it begins to rain hard and this is when Holden realizes, "My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyways" (Salinger 212). What Holden means is that the hat gave him protection from the rain which is a metaphor for guarding against adulthood. But when he gets soaked though, it is another way of saying that the hat did not stop him from growing up into adulthood. The Red Hunting Hat shielded Holden from the adult world but after realizing he can not stop growing up, Holden passes it down to Phoebe so she can be protected just like the hat once did for
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