"The Mysteries Of Holden Caulfield" Is About The Symbolism In "The Catcher In The Rye" And What This Reveals About The Character Holden. Could Use A Conclusion, We Didnt Have To Put One.

888 words - 4 pages

In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger there are many insights about Holden Caulfield revealed by symbols, which would otherwise remain unclear. School, the checkerboard, the museum, and cigarettes and alcohol are all symbolic of Holden. These symbols tell us things about Holden that he doesn't tell us straight out. This essay will discuss many symbols in the book and what they tell us about Holden.
The checkerboard is referred to a lot when Holden is thinking of his old friend Jane Gallagher. The checkerboard is symbolic of Holden's obsessiveness with Jane. Holden is always asking people and wondering if Jane still keeps her kings in the back row. In checkers, if you keep your kings in the back row, it's like a security. You can't lose if you play that way. This is why Holden is so curious about Jane and if she still keeps her kings in the back row. What he really wants to know is if Jane has lost her security and let someone besides Holden in. This is why when Stradlater returns from a date with Jane, Holden repeatedly asks Stradlater, "Did you ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row?" Holden is actually asking if Jane let down her guard and let go of her innocence to Stradlater. Holden ponders a lot about if Jane keeps her kings in the back row over the period of the book. This just shows that Holden is totally obsessed with Jane's innocence and if she still has any innocence left.
School is also a symbol that tells us about Holden. It actually tells us about what will probably happen to Holden in his life. School is a structured system with many steps that must be completed in order to pass. It is a lot like life where there are many obstacles and challenges one must overcome in order to succeed. Holden had already failed a number of schools before he failed Pencey. Holden doesn't even care if he fails school because his parents don't care. Holden tells people about how he failed so many schools like it's something to be proud of. He tells us about how he failed Whooton School, Elkton Hills, and Pencey like it's no big deal and he's proud to talk about it. It's obvious he even care about his future. When Mr. Spencer asked Holden, "Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy", Holden responded, "Oh, I feel...

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