The Catcher in the Rye - Literary Analysis Paper

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  • Topic: Symbol, Novel, Comin' Through the Rye
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The Catcher in the Rye - Literary Analysis Paper

Symbolism plays a big role in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. Salinger made

placed many of them throughout the novel, but there are 3 big ones that very important to

Holden’s character. Holden is a very difficult character to examine, he shows different sides of

his personality in almost any situation and rarely describes how he wants to transfer into

adulthood. The 3 symbols in this story will give us a better look into the depths of his personality

and his struggle to transition into adulthood.

One of the first, and most obvious symbol is Holden’s Red Hunting Hat. Holden

wears it everywhere. The hat is a symbol of his uniqueness and individuality. The reason being

that the hat stands out and holden tells the reader that it is very ugly. The hat is also

undesirable and always has second thoughts on wearing it. It shows that Holden wants to be

different from everyone. He is very self conscious about the hat as well. He mentions when

he decides to wear it and does not wear it if he is around people he knows. The hat symbolizes

Holden’s need for isolation.

Another obvious symbol, which is the novels name, is The Catcher in the Rye.

title, this symbol merits close inspection. It is first mentioned in Chapter 16, when Holden

notices a kid singing the Robert Burns song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.” In Chapter 22, when

Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life, he tell her he wants to be a “catcher in the

rye.” Holden imagines a field of rye on a high cliff, full of children playing perched.

He says he wants to protect the children from falling of the cliff by catching them as they were

tumbling over. Phoebe points out that Holden has misheard the lyric. She tells him “It’s ‘If a

body meet a body coming through the rye’?”. Holden replies “I know it’s a poem by Robert

Burns. He really did not know, and later admits that his sister...
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