Symbolism in the "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger.

Essay by sonickaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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Symbolism in the "Catcher in the Rye"

Catcher in the Rye is a very powerful symbolic book written from the perspective of a troubled teenager, who seems to be excluded from and victimized by the world around him by his own choice. Throughout the novel, the reader is presented with various symbols. The symbols are clearly evident in Holden's constant repetition of their importance and their symbolism is directly related to the major themes of the novel. In this essay, I am going to analyze the key symbols and refer them to the major themes of the novel.

Firstly , the characters of Allie, Jane Gallagher and Phoebe represent Holden's perception of innocence and childhood. Allie, Holden's younger brother is one of the few people who were not 'phony' in a world full of 'phonies'. More importantly, Allie symbolizes the innocence and childhood that Holden strives to find throughout his multi-day journey thus, consciously resisting the process of maturity.

Because of his early death, Allie always remains an innocent child in Holden's eyes. In a way, this helps Holden to cope with his brother's death. It is clear, why Holden does not want any child to grow into an adult, which is impossible for Allie , as he is eternal young in Holden's memory. Therefore, Allie is lucky , he does not have to deal with the negative aspects of human mature life anymore. This leads to an immense amount of adoration Holden feels towards Allie. Moreover, Allie becomes Holden's role model ,by the prism of whom he judges the rest of the world. Then , there is Jane Gallagher, an everlasting symbol of goodness from Holden's childhood. She exists in his recollections as an innocent girl playing checkers. Therefore, even though he later finds her attractive ,