The Red Hunting Hat

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The Red Hunting Hat

The book, The Catcher In The Rye written by J.D. Salinger, contains many important symbols that represent traits and issues. But the there is one symbol that stands out above the rest. One that is mentioned throughout the entire book and that takes part in the most eventful scenes. Holden Caulfield's red hunting hat. It is a hat that he bought in New York for a buck and takes great pride in it. He only wears it in certain moments and for a certain reason. He also wears it differently than it is normally worn, and there is a reason for it. Holden isn't a popular guy and is very critical towards other people. Traits of someone that is insecure with themselves and is trying to reach out for something. Holden's red hunting hat represents his yearning for individualism and comfort.

With Holden being so critical about everything and having a pessimistic tone on just about anything, it's surprising to see something that Holden enjoys. “It was this red hunting hat…The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back-very corny, I’ll admit, but I liked it that way.” (pg.18) This red hunting hat is something that he thoroughly enjoys. He likes the fact that it looks corny and goofy, because it's different. There are more than one example where he states the fact that he likes it or in a Holden term, a bang out of it. For instance when he is with Stradlater in the bathroom, “I still had my red hunting hat on…I really got a bang out of that hat.” (pg.27) The repetition of the hats appearance shows the significance of the enjoyment it brings to Holden.

Holden likes to wear this hat different than how the average person would wear it, but he only does this in private. “That hat I bought had earlaps in it, and I put them on-I didn’t give a damn how I looked. Nobody was around anyway.” (pg.53) Holden wore the earlaps because he didn’t car how he looked, but the statement he makes right after contradicts the first. He only...
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