Holden Caulfield Description

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The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, covers Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy, a few days after the end of classes at Pencey prep school, where he just flunked out. Holden narrates his journey from Pennsylvania back to his home in New York. Holden rooms with Stradlater at Pencey, next to Ackley’s room. On his way home, Holden makes several stops trying to kill time until Wednesday, when he is supposed to be home. He is scared that his parents will be mad that he flunked out for the fourth time. While trying to avoid home, Holden stays at hotels, a teachers house, a train station, visits two bars, and goes on a date with Sally. Holden also sneaks into his little sisters room, Phoebe, and tells her what happened at Pencey and what…show more content…
Spencer, to say goodbye before he leaves for New York. Holden tells the readers how he is in New York for a fencing match and loses the equipment earlier today. While he is in New York he buys a red hunting hat with a long peak that he saw in the window of a sports store. The hat represents his unwillingness to join the “boring” adult life because the hat is so different from what everyone else is wearing. At first, the hat seems to be dumb, Holden even says that himself. “The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back—very corny, I'll admit, but I liked it that way. I looked good in it that way” (Salinger 17). As you start to look into when he bought the hat, after he left the fencing teams equipment on the subway and the team got mad at him, you can start to conclude the Holden bought the hat while he was vulnerable. Throughout the book, the hat seems to appear in important moments that might make Holden vulnerable, even though he would never admit to it. For instance, when he is writing the composition on Allie’s baseball mitt for Stradlater, and after Stradlater punches him and he pretends to act tough. Towards the end, the hunting hat starts to become part of how Holden sees himself. When he wears the hat he can be as tough and as much of an individual as he…show more content…
When Holden sneaks in and has a conversation with Phoebe, she asks what he likes because he seems to like nothing if he keeps flunking out of school. Earlier that day Holden was walking behind a young boy who was singing a poem by Robert Burns. “ ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” (Salinger 173) After Phoebe argues that Holden cannot like Allie since he is dead, he decides he would like to be a catcher in the rye. This represents that Holden wants to save children from falling of the cliff of childhood into adulthood. He thinks that by catching the children he is protecting their childhood innocence. Holden is able to feel the satisfaction that he saved them from all troubles they would come across in adulthood. Once we understand why Holden wants to be a catcher in the rye, we can further our observation that he does not want to enter

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