Symbols In The Catcher In The Rye

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In the Catcher in the Rye, a young boy named Holden Caulfield gets kicked out of Pencey Prep School. Before heading home to tell his parents about getting kicked out of school, he recounts many adventures in New York City. Three objects or symbols are important to Holden. The first symbol is Holden’s red hunting hat. Second are the ducks at the lake, which is a symbol that symbolizes his struggle with change. The last symbol is the Museum of Natural History. All three of these symbols contribute to the message and themes in the novel.

Holden is the kind of person who isolates himself from everyone who surrounds him. He has this desire to not conform. He even seems to dislike making friends. Holden’s hat is and object he values and likes to wear. He’s enjoys wearing it with the old peak way around back. The hat resembles him. They are both unusual and odd. This shows us how Holden enjoys standing out in crowds of people.
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Since the displays at the museum never change, being surrounded by the exhibits made Holden feel like he fit in. It was like being in his own world. Not having to change would mean Holden wouldn’t need to worry about moving from childhood to adulthood, and neither would he need to deal with the phoniness of the adult world. Holden deals with a lot of phoniness throughout the novel. The way old Spencer embarrasses Holden and reads his essay out loud is an example of how Holden encounters phoniness (pg 11).

Holden’s red hunting hat, the ducks at the lake, and the Museum of Natural History are all very important symbols in the novel. Each of these three symbols or objects relate to Holden through one of the four themes; Alienation, the painfulness of growing up, the phoniness of the adult world, or the pressure to conform. All three symbols are equally important because each one of them does not only shape Holden but they all resemble on how Holden truly
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