Red Hunting Hat Symbolism

435 Words2 Pages
In Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger uses symbolism to emphasize the significance of Holden’s red hunting hat. Holden wears the red hunting hat to distinguish himself from everyone around. Holden bought the red hunting hat for one dollar in New York the same morning he lost the fencing equipment. The red hunting hat offers Holden protection from the outside world and it also of comforts him in real world situations. Obviously needing protection from the fencing team who ostracized him all the way back to Pencey. The red hunting hat represents Holden’s allure/endearment to unique qualities in objects and people, that normally go unnoticed by others. The hat also symbolizes Holden’s individuality and unwillingness to conform to society’s…show more content…
Holden rarely wears the hat if there is a chance he’ll be around someone he knows. “That hat I bought had earlaps in it, and I put them on--I didn't give a damn how I looked. Nobody was around anyway."(53) He doesn’t care how he looks because no one he knows is around that will judge him. The color of the hat is the same color as Allie’s and Phoebe’s hair. Being that they are the two people throughout the book Holden associates with innocence,wearing the hat may help him connect with them in a different way. Holden even gives Phoebe his hat hoping that it may protect her. “Then I took my hunting hat out of my coat pocket and gave it to her. She likes those kind of crazy hats. She didn't want to take it, but I made her. I'll bet she slept with it on. She really likes those kind of hats..." (180). Holden gives Phoebe his red hunting hat because he thinks the hat will protect her from the outside world and keep her innocence and purity intact as he believes it has done for him. Not only does Holden wear the hat all the time but he also talks about wearing the hat all time this showing that he’s a bit more self conscious about the hat than he lets
Open Document