• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Catcher in the Rye Essay. The three main symbolic events which describe Holden's alienation from society are the red hunting hat, the museum and the ducks in the lagoon.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Alienation from the Adult World The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is a Bildungsroman about a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield who is having difficulties accepting and blending in with the adult world. Holden throughout the novel encounters awkward situations where he feels left out and alienated prior to the fact which he cannot make any real friends except for Phoebe his younger sister and Jane Gallagher which he now has lost contact to. Holden's incapability of becoming an adult keeps him constantly confused about society in general. Every time Holden has a decent conversation with another adult he constantly feels neglected or insulted. Throughout the novel, the red hunting hat, the museum, and the ducks in the lagoon are three symbolic events which establish Holden's alienation from society. ...read more.


Holden then seeking for a friend goes to see Ackley. Ackley then again, disappoints Holden because Ackley had not given him the attention and moral support he really needed. This leads again for Holden to put "his red hunting hat on" and turn "the peak around to the back" the way he liked it (52). The museum is a place Holden always enjoyed going to since childhood. "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move... Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you" (121). Holden goes to the museum two times in the novel. The first time he walks all the way through central park but does not enter the museum. When Holden arrives he is too afraid to enter because something might have changed in the museum. ...read more.


The ducks and the lagoon are both symbols of Holden's alienation. Holden questions why and where the ducks disappear the same why he questions why people change and alienate Holden. The lagoon symbolizes Holden's ideal world where everything is "frozen" and simple and how the ducks (society) abandon Holden. Holden then "walked all around the whole damn lake" but doesn't see a single duck (154). This leads for Holden again to feel depressed and alone. The three main symbolic events which describe Holden's alienation from society are the red hunting hat, the museum and the ducks in the lagoon. Holden is a misunderstood teenage boy who is confused about society and their way of living. Holden is stuck between two lifestyles, either becoming a child or an adult. Holden tries being either one but he constantly fails at this and it results for him feeling alienated and lonely. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level J.D. Salinger section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the view that in "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and "Catcher in ...

    4 star(s)

    does suggest that she is a reliable narrator, for example on the day of Gillian's death. It must be considered however that Ruby in all honesty doesn't appear to particularly like Gillian to begin with, as Gillian is often cruel to her, for example the rocking horse incident.

  2. Peer reviewed

    'Holden's quest is an impossible one; it is a quest for the preservation of ...

    4 star(s)

    patting on the head that Holden is quick to see as a "flitty pass". Once again Holden is let down by an adult figure, someone who seemed to promise some kind of safety and sanctuary on the complex, confusing journey into adulthood.

  1. Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"

    The death of Holden's younger brother Allie could also be a cause of Holden's behaviour and we learn this in Chapter 5 when Holden's roommate asks him to write a composition for his English class. He chooses to write a personal story of his brother's baseball mitt.

  2. The Catcher in the Rye - Symbolism of ducks.

    He tries to compare himself to the ducks and sees a solution in getting an answer to his question where they go, besides he realizes their possible independence, which he desires. The grey hair: Holden often points at his grey hair in the book.

  1. Catcher in the Rye: Close Reading

    Do you mind very much?" (Salinger 125). Later in the scene he goes on to tell the prostitute, "I said I'd pay you for coming and all. I really will. I have plenty of dough" (Salinger 127). He sees himself as above them, perhaps considering it an insult that he is forced into the situation.

  2. Theme in The Catcher in the Rye.

    It thus reveals the weaknesses of Holden's romantic outlook. NOTES ON HOLDEN Holden Caulfield - The number of readers who have been able to identify with Holden and make him their hero is truly staggering.

  1. How does the reliability of the narrator, and they style they use, affect the ...

    it is through his unreliabilty that we learn the most about him. The bond we form with Holden, the sympathy we have for him and the way can relate to his feelings are all because of his unreliability as a narrator.

  2. To what extent do the authors of The Outsider and The Catcherin the Rye ...

    This idea is also presented in The Catcher in the Rye where Salinger portrays Holden as an immature seventeen-year old who does not wish to be categorized as such. Holden's immaturity is apparent when he is refused liquor by numerous waiters and laughed at by a group of middle-aged women

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work