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The Catcher in the Rye: Symbols and Themes

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Nicholas Rodrigues

on 16 February 2011

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Transcript of The Catcher in the Rye: Symbols and Themes

The Catcher in the Rye Theme 1 Theme 2 Symbol 1 Symbol 2 Innocence Phoniness Red Hunting Hat The Museum of Natural History Introduction By J.D. Salinger / The Catcher in the Rye is a novel featuring the main character Holden. Holden is an adolescent male of a rich family. The story is of him wandering around New York City after being kicked out of school Except in black and white because it was the fifties Innocence is an aspect Holden treasures and it appears often in his thoughts. He often views the adult world as corrupt and painful to be around While children are good and make Holden happy Holden is afraid of the reality that he will also, one day, grow up His feelings for innocence have stretched so far that the only people he consistently cares for are his dead brother Allie and his younger sister Phoebe To Holden, phony people are people who fake who they, but he has a variety of people whom he considers fit the word There are phonies such as Holden's roommate, Stradlater, who acts and looks like a clean, upstanding individual, but who is actually unsanitary and regularly has sexual intercourse. Actors and actresses in movies are phonies as they play roles different from who they are in real life. Holden also finds the phoniness of being a young prostitute as nobody would know during the day what the young lady truly was While Holden may consider many people phony, he rarely addresses how he often lies, uses false identities, and acts phony. PHONY Occasionally, Holden will mention that he is wearing a red hunting hat Phony I am not a This hat symbolizes Holden's individualism as he wears it to be different In being different, the hat also shows Holden isolating himself and peventing others from liking him The hat also symbolizes the change going through Holden throughout the story as he constantly wears it at first, but towards the end he tries to give it away At one point, Holden reminisces and returns to the museum he used to visit at his elementary school This museum symbolizes an ideal and fear of Holden's One thing Holden notices about the museum is that it is the same every visit he makes This is an ideal as Holden is against change and does not want what his future holds Another thing Holden notices about the museum is that during every visit he is different This is a fear as that means that Holden, himself, must be changing
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