When I first read the book, I notice the red hunting hat the entire story. Holden love to judging people around him related to touchable object for example "can get a big bang out of buying a [Navajo] blanket," for picked on Mr. Spencer, "He always looked alright ﾅ you should've seen the razor he shaved himself with." for Stradlater is like a proverb says "All that glitters is not gold". So, his hat meaning related to confusion about alienation and affiliation like when he put the hat on is showing that he feel more confident and be himself as you can notice from the following event: "he bought the hat in New York that morning after he left all the fencing equipment on the subway" means he feel vulnerable and need some protection because his team hate him for that mistake, When he is writing an essay about Allie's baseball mitt in chapter five means at the moment of his younger brother, Allie died and reveals that rule of life is so cruel and capricious. Another issue is the red hat is related to his brother and sister hair color which make him connected the innocence of children, "I'd already taken off my hunting hat, so as not to look suspicious" in chapter twenty one which show that he is not confident when he is in public, "Like hell it is! ...This is a people shooting hat. ﾅI shoot people in this hat" in chapter three tells that he want to shoot people phoniness or may imply that he antagonize others. Shooting people in his way is to criticize people when he is talking about them. It is quite amazing comparing to a regular seventeen years old boy who born in a wealthy background likes him. In conclusion, the meaning is like hunting for himself, searching for who really is and for not to get lost. According to the 25th chapter, he finally realized what he wanted and no need to hunting for himself anymore. So he will not run away but stick around to save Phoebe as she save him from himself.
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