October, 6, 2010
Youth and the Coming of Age
The novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger is a story about the struggle teenagers face in making the transition from childhood to adulthood. The main character, Holden Caulfield undergoes a series of events on his journey towards adulthood. Holden’s firm grip on youth makes it even harder for him to accept the adult world and the responsibilities that come with it. In every classic piece of literature there has to be elements that highlight the theme to help us have a deeper understanding of the major character. The author of The Catcher in the Rye is no stranger to this. In this novel, the use of symbolism is exceedingly important; it represents a word or object for more than its exterior meaning. To understand any novel the journey taken by the main character is vital, whether it is physical, emotional or psychological. A minor character in a novel has an important role in the main character’s life and affects the journey and/or path taken by the protagonist. The Catcher in the Rye examines the importance of symbols, minor characters and the journey as crucial to the readers understanding of the story and its contemporary value.
The inclusion of symbolism provides us with an understanding of the main characters frame of mind. In this novel, objects such as the red hunting hat and the ducks in the Central Park lagoon provides us with a deeper understanding of the main characters personality. Another key and essential symbol is when Holden mentions to his sister about being a catcher in the rye. “I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over .I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if the just flew away” (pg.13). Throughout this novel Holden shows a deep interest in the ducks at Central Park, he ponders about where they will go when the lagoon gets frozen over. This symbolizes the change he is...