Catcher in the Rye Symbols

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Representation in The Catcher in the Rye The various symbols in The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, such as the red hunting hat, The Museum of Natural History, and the profanity on the walls, help provide a deeper meaning for the reoccurring themes in the novel. Innocence, consistency, and identity are all significant themes in the novel, which are represented by the different objects, phrases, and places in the story. J.D. Salinger stresses the importance of the various symbols through repetition; the hat, museum, and profanity are all found multiple times within the book. As the tale progresses Holden explains how The Museum of Natural History has been the same since he was a child, how everything is exactly the way it was years ago. “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was” (Holden, 121). It is the one thing in his life that has remained unchanging, which makes him wish everything could be that way, frozen in time. The museum goes along with Holden’s idea of the perfect world, where everything is infinite, reliable, and simplistic. “Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone” (Holden, 122). The museum also adds to Holden’s depression because he realizes that while everything stays the same there, he is growing older/changing and has no control over it. Holden’s views on the innocence of kids and innocence in general, is greatly altered by the profanity he finds on the walls. There are two contrasting details to the profanity; who wrote it and its erasability. At first, Holden is able to erase the curse word and believes a “perverty bum” wrote it, but by the end he understands that it was indeed a child and that even “if you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck
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