What Does The Red Hunting Hat Symbolize In Catcher In The Rye

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There are many motifs that appear throughout most books. Motifs add depth and meaning to a piece of literature. There are several motifs within the book The Catcher in the Rye. The red hunting hat is one of the most recognized. It is present the entirety of the book. J.D Salinger’s use of the red hunting hat as a motif throughout The Catcher in the Rye symbolizes the desire to be unique. Holden puts on his red hunting hat on when he is feeling vulnerable because the hat makes him feel as if he has security and confidence. The red hunting hat makes him feel as if he has the power and ability to be unique. He compulsively buys the red hunting hat after the fencing team verbally abuses him because he “lost all the goddam foils,” (Salinger 17).…show more content…
The insults of the fencing team cause him to feel exposed. The red hunting hat covers his exposure and makes him feel secure by giving him a way to prove to himself that he is unique and superior to the team. Holden’s conflict, while is seems to be him against his team and society, is actually an internal struggle to admit his wrong. The red hunting hat helps Holden feel security during his vulnerable moments all throughout the book. Holden also puts on his red hunting hat just after Stradlater beats him. After Stradlater leaves the room, Holden searches for and puts on his red hunting hat and then takes “a look at [his] stupid face in the mirror,” (45). Holden feels the need to find and put on his hat before he can face his reflection in the mirror. The mirror is symbolic of Holden’s true self; he cannot face his true self without the red hunting because it provides him the feeling of uniqueness. He has always believed he is one of a kind, and in turn, better than everyone else. The red hunting solidifies his feelings about himself. He cannot look at the mirror without the security and confidence the red hunting had provides. His insecurity without the hat versus his security and power when he is…show more content…
When Ackley first sees Holden’s red hunting hat he tells Holden that it is a deer-hunting hat. Holden responds in a confident manner and says his red hunting hat is “a people shooting hat,” (22). Without the red hunting hat, Holden would have never said such a bold statement. Holden by no means would actually shoot someone; his statement is figurative. He shoots people away from his life because he wants to be isolated. When he is wearing the red hunting he feels like he can be as individual as he wants. When Holden is feeling unique he feels more powerful. Holden’s statement that the red hunting hat is a people shooting hat symbolizes his need to be better than everyone else. Holden makes insulting statements when he is wearing the red hunting hat because he feels the power to be unique. Holden later in The Catcher in the Rye decides he needs to leave Pencey early and start his journey to New York. As he leaves, he puts on his red hunting hat and screams “sleep tight, ya morons,” (52) as he runs from the dormitory. Holden never tells anyone to their face that he does not like them or that something is disgusting about them. He always keeps it to himself. Although, when he puts on the hat he feels the power his uniqueness gives him and he declares very strongly that everyone is a moron, even though most people were

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