Red Hunting Hat Symbolism Essay

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The novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, contains many complex symbols, many of which are interconnected. The symbols in the novel are a way for Holden to express sensitive topics indirectly, a way to attempt to be himself, and a way to give insight into how he really feels. The symbols in the novel allow us to better understand Holden in a manner that he, the narrator, does not want to openly confess. The ducks in the lagoon symbolize burdens in Holden’s life. A direct connection can be made from the ducks to one of the situations Holden ends up in. He was able to leave Pencey but he was uncertain about where he belonged when he parted ways. According to Clinton W. Trowbridge, similar to the ducks’ winter predicament, “Holden is…show more content…
The same hat shows up repeatedly at crucial moments. For example, when he wrote the composition of Allie's baseball mitt as well as when he changed his demeanor after Stradlater punched him. He wears it when he wants to feel more confident after a difficult event: “I took my red hunting hat…and put it on—I didn't give a damn how I looked" (Salinger 99). Despite his initial embarrassment, the hat develops into an item that helps Holden identify himself. For that reason, when he is wearing it, he can be as tough and as individualistic as he…show more content…
However, during that time, Holden was hardly in the right frame of mind to enjoy the dream of the typical prep school boy. The way in which he parted by belittling his classmates as he left represents a complete rejection of the adolescent world, which, in this case, was “the glamorous adult life that his school is the monastic and detested antithesis of” (Trowbridge 683). He continues to seek innocence and reject the adult world any way that he can, even while trying to escape into a world that is filled with the phony
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