The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger has many motifs that run through and play a big part in the novel. A very important motif would be Holden’s old time friend Jane. She runs through the story, yet Holden never talks to her. “[He] got old Jane Gallagher on the brain again” (76). Holden always thought about Jane. Holden and Jane had a lack of communication where they would never talk face to face. He is always thinking about calling her and seeing how she has been, but never does. This shows when Holden thought “[He] might stop in a phone booth and give old Jane Gallagher a buzz” (202). He then realized he wasn’t in the mood.
Another motif would be Holden’s red hunting hat. One of the things his hat stood for was protection. “[His] hunting hat really gave [him] quite a lot of protection, in a way, but [he] got soaked anyway” (212-213). His hat gave a protection from reality as well. He could put it on and pretty much be in his own world. He would put his hat on whenever he wanted and feel comfortable with it. “That hat [he] bought had earlaps in it, and [he] put them on-[he] didn’t give a damn how [he] looked” (53). “[He] pulled the peak of [his] hunting hat around to the front all of a sudden, for a change” (34). He usually wore his hat backwards like a baseball player, but all of a sudden he got quite nervous and put it to the front.
The ducks is an important motif in the novel. Holden was always wondering what happens to the ducks when the river freezes. He would wonder where they go because they wouldn’t have a place to live. He asked the cab driver “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over” (60)? Holden even cared to see if they were around. “[He] figured [he’d] go by that little lake and see what the hell the ducks were doing, see if they were around or not” (153)....
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