The Catcher In The Rye

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger used symbolism throughout the novel. Three major symbols were the ducks, the Museum of Natural History, and Jane Gallagher. They all represent Holden in a way, and Salinger uses these symbols very well.

While Holden is wandering around New York City, he asks many people about what happens to the ducks in the pond when it freezes. I think this really symbolizes Holden. He isn't really wondering about the ducks, he is wondering about himself. He wants to know what will happen to him when the weather gets really cold. He wants to know if he will have to go home, because he is really afraid to. This relates to the theme of going home, which is a recurring theme during the novel. The novel is basically his slow return to his home, and he is wondering whether he should go home or stay outside and freeze.

The other two symbols, Jane Gallagher and the Museum of Natural History, both represent the theme of the past. Jane Gallagher was an old friend of Holden's, and he mentions her many times during the story. He mentions that he will call her, but he never gets the nerve to. She is an important part of his past that he misses a lot, and he wants to go back and be with her again.

The Museum of Natural History represents a different aspect of his past. While Jane Gallagher makes Holden want to return to his past, the Museum of Natural History sort of changes his mind. He remembers how he used to go there all the time, and how he was different, but the wax figures were always the same. He realizes that he can't go back in time, because he is not the same as he used to be. He also realizes that he will never be the same as he used to be.

J.D. Salinger's use of symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye is very helpful in conveying hidden messages. He uses different symbols to use these messages, such as Jane, the Museum and the ducks. They all represent Holden, showing the way he thinks and acts.

I chose this piece of writing because I felt that it was well written, and it was about a book that I enjoyed. It was also one of the few books that I was actually able to finish. I was able to read into this book very well, and I noticed a lot of the symbolism, which helped write this essay. I think that is one of the strengths of this piece, because I was really happy when I saw all the connections, and it all started to come together. I was really satisfied with the content, although I didn't really like the length, although it looks so much smaller on the web! If I had more time to work on this, I probably would have tried to make it longer, because it was about a page and a few extra lines. I also would have worked on my introduction and thesis, because it also too short and weak.

Another reason I chose this piece was because it didn't require a lot of revisions. I had to change some passive voices, but otherwise this essay was grammatically correct. This piece was fairly easy to write, but I always have a problem with writing down what I want to say. I think of amazing things to say in my head, but when I write them down, they look so bland. I learned from this piece that the process of writing is a lot harder than it looks, because when I read this essay now, it looks really simple. When I wrote it, however, I remember it took me a while to get everything right.