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Arthur Miller

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Jerome David Salinger incorporated a variety of symbols when he crafted his novel The Catcher in the Rye. His usage of symbols gently aids the author and his reader into the awareness of the novel's message. With symbolism Salinger leads himself and his reader suggestively as he presents the subject of the loss of childhood innocence. A profound symbol in The Catcher and the Rye is The Museum of Natural History. Salinger develops The Museum of Natural History as an unquestionable symbol of childhood innocence throughout his novel. Salinger repeatedly draws our attention to the museum by revealing its significant importance to Holden and his childhood illusions. Salinger concretes the importance that the museum embraces during Holden's journey to the museum itself. Despite inclement weather and an approaching date with Sally he traverses all of Central Park just to be in the museum's presence. ...read more.


Even the rule abiding museum guard had a soft spot for the children here. The guard spoke his guidance always with tender inflection. Holden endearingly recalls, "...he always said it in a nice voice, not like a goddamn cop or anything." With childlike vision the museum was the land of plenty for Holden and his classmates. Only as a child could, would you want for nothing here. He recalls that "you always had a lot of candy and gum and stuff with you." Salinger clearly implied The Museum of Natural History as the picture of childhood innocence by fueling his reader with all the warm fuzzies the museum embodied. Salinger effectively utilizes The Museum of Natural History as a significant symbol to direct the delivery of his message to his reader. The museum is an excellent contribution to Salinger's meaning of childhood innocence and its imminent loss. ...read more.


He asserts, "That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any... you may think there is, but once you get there, when your not looking, somebody will sneak up and write '#### you' right under your nose." Holden himself is now different and the introduction to the cold pricklies has not been kind. The author's message is apparent and the usage of the museum as a symbol is fulfilled as we journey along with Holden through the loss of childhood innocence. In the end Holden ultimately becomes what he aspired to be. Holden essentially catches Phoebe when she neared to closely the edge of the cliff. Unfortunately, he could only check her innocence temporarily in the museum. "I figured what I do was, I'd check that crazy suitcase she'd brought in the checkroom, and then she could get it again at three o'clock..." Salinger's message infiltrates that change is inescapable. How long can anyone, including Holden, hold these illusions? ...read more.

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