Catcher in the Rye Symbols

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Pencey Prep:

Pencey Prep is a boarding school for boys located in Agerstown, Pennsylvania that Holden was attending at the beginning of the novel. It is the fourth school Holden has attended and is later the fourth school he is kicked out of because of his poor marks. Pencey Prep is where the reader is able to get their first glance of Holden's lonesome character, strong opinion of phonies and the fact that he does not apply himself as he fails four out of five classes. At Pencey Prep, the theme of “alienation as a form of self protection” arises as it becomes clear that Holden can not maintain a close relationship with anybody. Holden's alienation and distance towards others is made clear after he agrees to write an English composition for his roommate, Stradlater. The composition is about a baseball glove that used to belong to his younger brother, Allie who died from leukemia when Holden was only thirteen. After the death Holden never wanted to get close to another person so that he would never have to feel the pain of loosing someone he loved and cared about once again. Lastly, at Pencey Prep, we are introduced to another important character, Jane Gallagher; an old friend of Holden that is going on a date with his “secret slob [and] Year Book handsome” (27) roommate, Stradlater. Before leaving Pencey Prep Holden is too afraid to go say hi to Jane in the lobby, in case she was not the innocent, perfect girl he grew to love in the past.

Allie and his Glove:

Allie Caulfield is Holden's younger brother who died of leukemia while their family was in Maine on July 18, 1946. Holden was only thirteen at the time of the death and has idealized Allie ever since, describing him as the the most intellectual, admirable and humorous person you could have ever met. From Allie's death, the reader is able to witness first hand Holden's “madman” characteristics. The night after the death Holden spent the night in their garage where he decided to smash all the...
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