Catcher In The Rye Symbolism Essay

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Symbolism in “Catcher in the Rye” Symbolism: the use of symbols to express or represent ideas or qualities in literature, art, etc (“Symbolism”). The many symbols in The Catcher in the Rye provides the reader with an immense amount of knowledge. This novel is about a sarcastic teenage boy, named Holden, who internally struggles with himself. During this period in his life, Holden finds himself attending multiple different boarding schools in the New York area. After flunking out of Pencey Prep, he grounds himself in New York city living off cheap hotels and supportive friends. It is clear that there are many objects, people, and places that are important symbols. In Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger alludes the “The Catcher in the Rye” poem,…show more content…
Phoebe, Holden's younger sister, asks Holden what he truly would like to do in his life. Holden replies to her with an image from Burn's poem "The Catcher in the Rye." Holden envisions a patch of grain rested above a cliff, complete with girls and boys frolicking and sporting. Holden declares he wishes to guard the children from toppling over the side of the cliff by “catching” them. Phoebe reveals to Holden that he has misidentified the true lyric. Holden remembers the line as “if a body catch a body comin’ thro’ the rye,” but the actual verse is “if a body meet a body, comin’ thro’ the rye” (Salinger #) For instance, Holden admires the nameless young boy whistling the tune on the edge of the road because he simply has no care in the world, unlike Holden's teenage angst lifestyle. This seemingly unimportant moment displays Holden's desire to go back to when he was a young boy and not have to worry about mature responsibilities such as school, money, and sex. From these illustrations, it is clear that the poem is representative of Holden's appealed childhood…show more content…
Holden often appreciates them more when he realizes that only he changes when he returns to the museum displays, finding that they always stay precisely the same. Holden supports his statement through the quote: “certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway” (Salinger 122). Holden's fantasy world of the "The Catcher in the Rye" also factors in the museum where nothing changes, and everything is manageable, reasonable, and absolute, unlike adulthood. Holden wishes he could remain unchanged. He hates struggling and is muddled by his brother Allie's passing and frets communication with others. All of which leads to him being frightened by random difficulties of the world. Salinger's utilization of the Museum of Natural History confronts Holden’s boyhood

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