Catcher in the Rye

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Period 4- English
10/31/12 The Catcher in the RyeMartha Beck once said, “If you want to end your isolation, you must be honest about what you want at a core level and decide to go after it.” Isolation throughout one’s life, whether hidden or manifest, proceeds to deeper perspectives and interpretations of certain aspects. Throughout the classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye, a troubled teenage boy seems to be excluded and alienated from his surroundings. Holden feels as if everything around him has a “phony” characteristic. J.D Salinger uses locations of symbolism to mirror Holden’s life experience and crisis through his positions and personal belongings; such as his unique hunting hat, the ducks he continuously encounters, and the Museum of Natural History. These symbols express what Holden was facing throughout the four days Salinger’s novel takes place.

Throughout the novel, Salinger presents one of Holden’s very valued possessions; the red hunting hat, to symbolize how vulnerable and alone Holden feels in the big, unpleasing world of New York City. Holden shares his hat with his younger, beloved sister Phoebe because he wishes for her protection even more than he needs it himself. However, Phoebe perceives her brother’s continuing need and according to Holden, “What she did- it damn near killed me- she reached in my coat pocket and took out my red hunting hat and put it on my head” (212). Possessing this hat, Holden shows his uniqueness and isolation. Usually, when one distinguishes their self from the rest, it gives a sense that they are on a higher level; socially or just being a more important presence. Holden’s alienation is a form of self protection. His red hunting hat portrays also, innocence. Pertinent to the purity of this hat, Phoebe and Allie’s hair are and was the color, red. Since Holden takes his younger siblings as an example, it is only logical to conclude that the actual hat and its color establish...
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