Catcher In The Rye Change Analysis

1207 Words5 Pages
The Search for Oneself and Tides of Change In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the author uses recurring symbols to help form major themes throughout the novel. The story focuses on a sixteen year old boy, Holden Caulfield, who has just been expelled from his third school. Holden decides to leave his school, Pency Prep early and stays in New York for three days to pass the time. There he begins to see recurring symbols that all together develope from items into symbols reflecting Holden’s self and mindset. As Holden spends his three days in New York three major item help symbolize his struggling through his internal dilemmas and his coming of age are his Red Hunting Hat, The Museum of Natural History, and the Ducks in the Central Park…show more content…
While waiting to meet with Sally for their date Holden decides to visit the Museum of Natural History where he discovers he admires life in the museum as it remains unchanging and untouched remarking, “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move...Nobody’d be different (Salinger 158)”. By admiring this frozen in time life Holden reflects his unwillingness for change wanting things to stay completely simple and completely free of conflict not having to fear the concepts of change and time. As Holden continues to reflect on his childhood visits to the museum he tries to grasp at his memories of childhood further showing his want to revert back to simpler times saying, “You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole...( Salinger 153)”. Through Holdens reflections we are able to see that he takes comfort in childhood and now fondly thinks back on those times of innocence where now he is stuck in the in between of childhood and adulthood. By envying the unchanging atmosphere of the exhibits it reflects Holden’s want of not having change as he believes change approaches too quickly, instead he…show more content…
Holden first begins to think of the question of where the ducks of Central Park Lagoon go when “shooting the bull with his teacher Mr. Spencer as he begins to not only talk to his teacher but also lets his mind wander by thinking, “ ...about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go. I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away (Salinger 18)”. Instead of this being a pointless question posed instead this symbolism helps reflect Holden, like the ducks of the pond Holden is kicked out of his known habitat of Pencey Prep. This symbolizes both Holden and the ducks as they are both forced to leave their comfort zone of the pond, this event foreshadows Holden crossing into a threshold into maturity and manhood. While riding in a cab in New York a curious question again sparks up in Holden’s head as he asks the cabdriver, “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all

    More about Catcher In The Rye Change Analysis

      Open Document