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Catcher In The Rye-Symbolism Essay, Research Paper

Catcher in the Rye


The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, is a display of characters and incidents portrayed through the eyes of an adolscent. Holden Caulfield, the main character has been revealed in the first person view in a unique narrative of a teenage boy who forms a

transition into adulthood. Holden perceives the world as an evil and corrupt place where there is no purity and that individuals in the world acquire a trait known as “phony.” Throughout the novel, Holden Caulfield refers to the conditions of the society he lives in and deals with his internal affairs and his

extrinsic circumstances.

The setting of the book which is varied, brings the reader to the conclusion that it takes place in a psycotherapy session. Knowing this information, allows the reader to understand thiat his story is being stated through Holden’s mind, which is essential to know due to the fact that Holden may not provide factual information based on his observations

and assumptions towards society. Though Holden opposes against society’s “phonies,” he is in need of compassion and friendship. An example of Holden’s need for fellowship is when he says, “I sort of miss everybody I told you about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I miss even that goddam Maurice.”

Despite Holden’s hatred towards society, he can be considered sane for the reason that he does stand against the false standards and hypocrisy society accepts. Although Holden would probably like to accept the fact that the world is an easeful place, he cannot pretend that his society is worthwhile.

Throughout the book, Holden seemed to be lagged behnd in his emotions and his reactions to others. Allie, who is Holden’s younger brother died of leukemia at a younger age and has seemed to have forged a large mark in Holden’s life emotionally. From the day that Allie died, it was the beginning of Holden’s rejection of society and the definite vision of Allie destroyed. Holden wants to connect with Allie and does so by wearing on a red hunting hat which is a connection to his brother’s red hair and keeps him dry in the storm. The cap allows him to feel ostracized from society and keeps Allie’s memory retained. Asecond form of Allie’s connection to him is the catcher’s mitt, which is a baseball mitt and a symbol of the title known as the Cathcher in the Rye. The catcher’s mitt can signify that Allie is Holden’s catcher, keeping him safe. Though Holden looks back over the loss of his brother Allie, it seems that Salinger has brought back the characteristics and qualities into a sibling of Holden’s known as Phoebe.

Holden now knows that he must become the “catcher in the rye.” He feels that he has a responsibility upon saving the children from falling off the cliff and into losing their innocence. Holden wants to protect the vulnerable and from being corrupted by society as they grow up. Holden views himself as vulnerable at times too, when he look at the ducks and thinks about himself that he has no direction in life and that it should remain constant.

Though Holden appears to be attempting his unusual task as being the “catcher in the rye,” he understands that his dream is unrealistic. When Holden is watching his sister, Phoebe, on the carrousel, he understands accepts the reality of life. He observes Phoebe, on the carrousel whoch is adulthood and considers the horse as faith, hope and love and finally the gold ring which is the end of the cliff, to which the closer ypu get, the closer you fall. According to the novel, I thought that the ending was ironic because Caulfield wanted to be the catcher but he was the one really falling. This is implied to when he feels like he’s stepping into oblivion every time he steps off of a curb near the end. His sister catches him symbolically by showing him how how much she loved him when she shows up at the museum with her suitcase. He knows that he cannot take her with him out West, but he cannot walk away from her either.

Eventually, Holden does go home. His lifestyle on the streets have brought him dissatisfaction and admitting his dependence on his family. Holden feels better about the outlook on life and also is optimistic about the coming school year. In my theory, I feel that the catcher of the ryewas Phoebe and that the person she caught was Holden.


Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

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