English 10H Period 2
J.D. Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye, uses symbolism to show what is going on with Holden Caulfield throughout the book. Holden is a typical teenager struggling with growing up. Salinger uses symbolism like the ducks leaving for the winter, the perfect, clean snow, and the never changing museum to help us see what is important to Holden and how things are affecting the stability of his mind.
Salinger used the ducks as a symbol for Holden’s desire to have his brother Allie back. The ducks first appear in chapter 9 when Holden asks a cab driver if he knows where the ducks in the lagoon, by Central Park, go when it gets ...view middle of the document...
He had made the snowball with the intention of throwing it at something. He was first going to throw it at a car that was parked outside, but “the car looked so nice and white” that he didn’t want to disturb the snow. Then he thought of throwing the snowball at a hydrant but that also looked too nice and white. To Holden the clean white snow represents purity and innocence. He becomes somewhat obsessed with innocence and the need to hold on to it. His focus on innocence is shown in many ways throughout the book. For example, when Holden repeatedly worries about Jane keeping her “kings in the back row”, and his dream job of being the catcher in the rye and saving kids from falling away from their innocence show how he wishes people would not have to grow up and lose their innocence. Holden would love to be able to get his innocence back and keep others from losing theirs.
In addition to the ducks and the snow, Salinger uses the museum as a symbol of Holden’s fear of change. While Holden was walking through New York, he ends up at the museum of Natural History. Holden thought the best thing “in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (119) and that there were glass cases to protect everything. He liked that so...