Catcher in the Rye
Author Information :
Jerome David Salinger was born in New York City in 1919. He attended and
graduated from a military acedemy, then shortly attended two colleges. He has written some
of the most influencial American literature in the twentieth century. Some of his short
stories originally appeared in the New Yorker magazine and were later published as in the
book, Nine Stories. However, Salinger has not published anything since 1963.
I have chosen to do symbolism. The symbols are clearly made evident by Holdens
constant repetition of their importance. The symbols are so important and their symbolism
are directly related to the major themes of the novel. Allie, Holdens young brother who
died some years earlier, was a key symbol through out the story. When Holden remembers
incidents from his past involving Allie, his attitude changes, like as when he writes the
composition about Allies baseball glove or when Holden broke his hand after punching all
of the windows after Allie died. He feels that Allie was one of the few people who were not
phony in a world full of phonies. But more importantly, Allie represents the childhood that
Holden strives to find through out his multi-day journey. In Holdens opinion, Allie
represents the purity that Holden looks for in the world. Holden admits that he admires
Allie more than he admires Jesus. Allie is Holdens role model, whom he judges the rest of
the world to. When Allie dies, it creates heartache in Holdens life.
Another symbol is when walking through New York City, Holden arrives at the
Museum of Natural History. He remarks about the museum that he likes the glass cases that
the museum officials place all of their exhibits in. He wishes he could place parts of his life
in glass cases because they wont change. In the end, he decides not to go into the museum.
He likes the museum because he used to go there in his childhood, a time that he
remembers with happiness. Since the glass cases inside the museum dont allow anyone to
change anything, it would be the one place for Holden to go if he wanted everything to be
as it was during his childhood. However, he elects to remain outside because he is afraid
that there is a chance that the museum might have changed. Jane Gallagher changed since
his childhood and Holden thought that was unbelievable, so if Jane could change, perhaps
the museum could change, as well. Holden knows that if the museum does not remain the
same, it could hurt him, so he makes a conscious decision not to enter, even if his reasons
Catcher in the Rye was a very powerful and symbolic book written from the
position of a troubled teenager. The themes are clearly illustrated through the symbols,
which Holden makes sure the reader recognizes.
Personal Opinion :
I really liked the book, it wasnt too long and it make me think. Alot. Ive always
wanted to read that book. The book confused me at some parts but it was nothing
compared to Hamlet. Im sure you have all ready read this book.
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