Catcher in the Rye

Emily Shinn
English 10H Period 2
Mrs. Farmer

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 frozen over. Then in Chapter 12 he asks another cab driver the same thing. Neither of the cab drivers know, and they both find the question to be quite odd. Holden wonders about the ducks so much because he wishes that he could just leave when things got hard, and he wishes that things returned like the ducks do. He wants things to go back to how they used to be. He wants to go back to before his brother Allie died, to before when he was still innocent, back to when he was a child. Holden even got to the point where he tries to get Sally Hayes to run away with him. He asked her, “How would you like to get the hell out of here? … I have about a hundred and eighty bucks in the bank.” (132) That also shows us that he really isn’t thinking through what he is saying. Holden just wants to get away from becoming an adult, to go back to before he started growing up, or just run away from it, and not have to deal with adulthood. Holden would have loved to be one of the ducks and be able to live with them.
Another way that Salinger used symbolism is with the snow. When Holden is waiting for Ackley to get ready in chapter 5, he opens his bedroom window and made a snowball with the snow that had fallen. He had made the snowball with the intention of throwing it at something. He was first...