Symbolism in Catcher in the Rye

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 53
  • Published : May 2, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
In the book The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield seems like a teenager who is always critical, lonely and depressed. He seems to not understand that getting older is a part of life. The author of The Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger, uses a lot of symbolism to express this. A symbol is a word or object that stands for another word or object. The person writing will either make it clear to you or they might make you think. Salinger uses symbols such as the poem "Comin' Thro the Rye", the graffiti on the school walls, and taking a ride on the carousel.

In Chapter 22, Holden goes to visit Phoebe and she asks what he wants to do with his life. He replies by asking if she knew a song that went "if a body, catch a body comin' through the rye." She confirms that she does and Holden says, "I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy." He pictures himself positioned at the edge of a cliff to keep the children from falling off. This fall represents adulthood, and Holden wants to keep the children innocent as long as he possibly can. To Holden all adults are "phony". "Phony" is probably the most commonly used word throughout The Catcher in the Rye, and he would like to keep the children away from that.

Later in the book, Holden wrote Phoebe a note to meet him at the Museum of art. As he was walking to the principal's office, he suddenly noticed that somebody had written "F you" on the wall. It drove him insane. It says, "I thought of how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them --all cockeyed, naturally -- what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days." He feels this way because, again, he would like to keep the children innocent. He tries to rub it off the wall, but finds that it is scratched in. Holden then realizes that...
tracking img