Symbolism of Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye is a book narrated by a 17 year old boy named Holden Caulfield who remains curious and naive throughout the story he tells. The story begins with Holden explaining how he was kicked out of a prep school and then takes us through his Christmas in New York while he waits until his parents have been notified of his expulsion. During the time he tries to keep himself busy in order to avoid his parents, he manages to experience many things for the first time and be able to act like he's been through it all before. Holden is an immature boy who in trying to seem older tends to lean more towards phoniness, a quality he despises in others. Little things, such as his interest with the ducks in central park and the glass cases in the museum were not just put in to the story to fill pages, it has meaning behind it. Therefore, the symbolism in Catcher in the Rye adds to the plot and makes for a more interesting story.

Allie Caulfield is Holden's younger brother, and he died of leukemia before he had the chance to grow up. Allie remains a very important figure in Holden's life and symbolizes innocence. When Allie died, Holden was so upset that he broke all the windows in his family's garage and ended up breaking his hand. He knew it was a stupid thing to do, but he did not care because Allie was so important to him.

"My hand still hurts me once in a while, when it rains and all, and I can't make a real fist any more – not a tight one, I mean – but outside of that I don't care much."
-pg. 39

The significance of the above quote is that Allie still affects him. His hand might hurt in the rain because of his reaction after Allie's death, but Holden himself hurts because Allie was such a good person. Allie was intelligent, but innocent as well, and this is what Holden strives to be. Allie adds to Holden's depression because he was entirely good in Holden's mind. He was smart, funny, patient and creative, and Allie was not the only one whose...
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