The Catcher In The Rye By Jd Salinger

608 words - 2 pages

Holden Caulfield, the main character and narrator of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, is a sixteen year old boy who on the edge of the cliff separating childhood from adulthood. Holden is a very self-conscious and unique individual, who often finds himself detached from the rest of society. As a result, Holden's life is full of loneliness. He finds the hypocrisy and ugliness of the world around him unbearable and uses his cynical demeanor to protect himself from the pain and disappointment of the adult world. In the novel, Salinger uses the symbols of Holden's red hunting hat and the Museum of Natural History to express the themes of loneliness and self-conscious isolationism.Holden's red hunting hat is a key symbol throughout the novel of his self-conscious isolation from other people and his desire to be different from the world around him. The red hunting hat can represent an escape, or alter ego for Holden throughout the novel. Whenever he feels the least bit insecure, he puts on his red hat and continues to stumble through life. At the same time, the hat can seem almost outlandish and bizarre. Holden is very self conscious about the hat and he only wears it when he is in a secluded place or around people he does not know. As Holden is wondering through New York City, he says, "I took my old hunting hat out of my pocket while I walked and put it on. I knew I wouldn't meet anybody that knew me, and it was pretty damp out." He is constantly aware of the hat's presence and always lets readers know when he is wearing it and when he is not.The Museum of Natural History is a symbol in the novel of everlasting existence and a lack of change. Holden enjoys looking at the displays because they are frozen and unchanging, unlike himself. The Museum of Natural History appeals to...

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