Holden Caulfield Symbolism Analysis

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Symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye The novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, is a tale of a seventeen year old boy who struggles to fit in with the conservative crowd of the late forties to early fifties. The boy, Holden Caulfield, is often looked at as troubled or disconnected with the world around him. Throughout the novel Holden references certain people, places, and items multiple times. When this occurs we can presume that these represent symbols in Holden’s life. The major representations are Holden's support system including his good friend Jane Gallagher, his red hunting hat, and Allie, his deceased younger brother. Another primary representation is Holden’s interests including, the museum of Natural History and the ducks…show more content…
This is illustrated in several episodes of him acting out. Holden has somewhat of a “support system” of people and items that show symbolization such as Jane Gallagher, Allie, and Holden's red hunting hat. Jane Gallagher was portrayed as Holdens only true friend, someone that wasn’t a “phony”, with whom he could honestly speak. Allie’s glove was something that Holden held near and dear to his heart. The only people who had ever seen it was Holden's family, until Jane. Holden mentions “She was the only one, outside my family, that I ever showed Allie’s baseball mitt to” (Salinger, 87). Jane seems to symbolize Holden’s innocence. Jane and Holden never fooled around. They often held hands and talked. This is out of character for Holden due to his constant cravings for sex, however with Jane he was content to keep their relationship non-physical. Holden describes a situation between him and Jane that shows even the littlest things she does is enough for Holden, “One time, in this movie, Jane did something that just about knocked me out. The newsreel was on or something, and all of a sudden I felt this hand on the back of my neck, and it was Jane's. It was a funny thing to do. I mean she was quite young and all, and most girls if you see them putting their hand on the back of somebody's neck, they're around twenty-five or thirty and usually they're doing it to their husband or their little kid – I do it to my kid sister Phoebe once in…show more content…
This has been showed through many different symbols in the novel. This was highlighted when Holden talks about what he wants to be to Pheobe, his younger sister, "I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,'" I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy” (Salinger, 191). This is probably one of the biggest symbols throughout the novel, thus the title The Catcher in the Rye. This symbolizes Holden protecting the innocence of the children. The cliff is the edge of innocence and once children fall off it they have lost their innocence. Towards the end of the novel Holden and Phoebe go to a carousel. Holden talks Phoebe into riding the carousel even though she insists she is too old. She asks him if he’s going to ride it as well and he says that maybe he will next time. This shows taking a step out of childlike actions while Holden stays behind in his

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