An Analysis of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

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Red Hunting Hat

* Wears the red hunting hat to connect with his brother Allie and sister Phoebe because they both have and had red hair. * Red hunting hat relates to his brother Allie because its red, and Holden always thinks of memories of Allie as if he were still alive, not being able to accept the fact that Allie is gone. Which connects with the ducks in the lagoon in Central Park because Holden questions where the ducks go during the winter before they return in the spring throughout the whole book. By not fully accepting the dramatic change in his life after the death of Allie makes it hard for Holden to accept change. * “certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that’s impossible but it’s too bad anyway.”(152) * What Holden doesn’t realize is change isn’t always permanent like the “partly frozen and partly not frozen lake”(200) * Red hat represents his isolation from society. Its an odd hat that makes him stand out. * When wearing the hunting hat, Holden can feel more like a child and closer to his innocence showing his uniqueness * The hat is outlandish, and it shows that Holden desires to be different from everyone around him. At the same time, he is very self-conscious about the hat—he always mentions when he is wearing it, and he often doesn’t wear it if he is going to be around people he knows. * “I’d put on my red hunting cap when I was in the cab, just for the hell of it, but I took it off before I checked in. I didn’t want to look like a screwball or something.” (79) * “But it was freezing cold, and I took my red hunting hat out of my pocket and put it on –I didn’t give a damn how I looked, I even put the earlaps down.” (115) * The presence of the hat, therefore, mirrors the central conflict in the book: Holden’s need for isolation versus his need for companionship. * Being a hunter means you are isolated...
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