Use of Symbolism in "The Catcher in the Rye" and "The Great Gatsby"

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (820 words) Published: September 8, 2005
Use Of Symbolism In "The Catcher In The Rye" and "The Great Gatsby" There are many writers like James Joyce, Patrick Kananach and Thomas Moore who use symbolism to convey and support indirect meaning in their writings. J.D. Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald both use symbolism in similar ways. In both "The Catcher In The Rye" and "The Great Gatsby", the authors used symbolism to convey emotions and reality.

In "The Catcher In The Rye", J.D. Salinger uses Holden's red hunting cap, the exhibits at the Museum of Natural History and "kings in the back row" as symbols whose meanings help tell the story. Holden's red hunting hat stands for Holden's disapproval of adult society and phonies. Although, Holden and his hat are out of place in New York, he loves this hat because it demonstrates his difference and independence from other kids his age. He becomes more and more attached to his hat because he feels like a catcher in the rye when he wears the hat. Holden cannot let go of his hat, like he cannot let go of his childhood. The Museum of Natural History is used to signify Holden's fear of change. Holden enjoys looking at the mummies and the exhibits at the museum because they never change and are frozen in time. Holden realizes that he changes every time he goes back and sees the exhibits, but the exhibits do not change. He wishes that his childhood world would last forever like his exhibits. Salinger also uses the setting of New York City as a symbol. Although Holden's mind, like the city is constantly changing, learning new things and finding new experiences, he is unable to let himself grow up. In chapter 4, the kings in a game of checkers are used to demonstrate Holden's child-like nature. Holden tells Stradlater that when Jane played checkers she always kept her kings in the back row because she like the way they looked there. Holden asks Stradlater to ask Jane if she still keeps all her kings in the back row. This must be interesting to Holden...
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