• 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. Describe how the writer used effective symbolism in the text.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Catcher In the Rye Essay Describe how the writer used effective symbolism in the text Explain what the reader could learn from this effective use of symbolism As writer Cindy Gerard once said, ?Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional?. The idea that growing old is an inevitable part of life that every individual must partake in is advocated in J.D. Salinger?s novel The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger blatantly presents the message that one must learn to embrace the beauty of maturity through the potent symbol of the carrousel. The effective use of symbolism depicts the idea of realization, showing how Holden as an individual grows mentally during the process, changing his initial will of protecting the innocence of the children, which eventually led to self contradictory and finally the acceptance and undergoing adulthood. 1) Salinger thoroughly presents Holden?s immense affection for childhood and his will to protect innocence through the symbol of the carousel at the beginning of the ride. As Holden and Phoebe entered the carrousel place, Holden immediately recognizes the song ?Smoke Gets In Your Eyes? and comments on the ?one nice thing? that he appreciates about the carrousel is that ?they always play the same songs" (pg190). ...read more.


Holden witnesses the innocent children in danger of falling from the circling carrousel as they reach for the stationary gold ring, yet he just sits and watches the inevitability of youngsters becoming adults. The picture of children reaching out is a symbolic scene, which indicates that there is a natural desire to protect innocence, but it is a foolish desire and everybody must grow up. Furthermore, the perils of the ride imply the dangers and insecurities in life which children must risk as they grow up in order to reach their goals. In addition, Salinger makes emphasis to Holden?s self-contradiction through his passive tone and extreme dictions as he mention that he was ?afraid? of Phoebe falling off the ?goddamn horse? yet he ?didn?t say anything or do anything? (pg 190). The juxtaposition between the phrases ?afraid?, ?goddamn? and ?didn?t do anything? deliberately displays the beginning of Holden?s realization. That half of him still hesitates about adulthood, but the other half of him has accepted the fact that growing up is mandatory. In this confronting of reality, Holden has begun to lose his delusional obsession to be a catcher in the rye and accepts that there can be no protector to break the fall from innocence into maturity. ...read more.


Therefore, from this symbolic scene readers are able to learn that happiness and innocence may remain through the process of maturity. Moreover, this fictional carousel is a symbol based upon a real carousel that was burnt down in 1950s. Salinger locates the concept of ?renewal and rebirth within destruction? by choosing a symbol which has experienced death. Which effectively portrays the realization that Holden experiences by the end of the ride, that maturity is not just the end of one journey, but the beginning for both of them. Innocence and maturity are both something that men have held equally dearly throughout the sands of time. Through Salinger?s deft and adroit use of symbolism, readers are able to explore the idea that even though growing up is inventible; innocence can still be preserved throughout the process. In addition, all the ideas that Salinger imply through his use of effective symbolism in the carrousel scene reinforces each other, and points the way to Holden?s redemption into life rather than withdrawal from it. Therefore, ?A grown up is just a child with layers on? (Woody Harrison) one must learn to give way to the hopeful beginnings of maturity, where in the end the most valued will always stay true to its purpose. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Snowdrops - A Discursive Essay

    All he is thinking about is going to see the snowdrops. Another example of the boy's feelings is " He squatted down to look at the snowdrops.

  2. Catcher in the Rye - how Salinger brings Holden's character to life

    But, he doesn't succeed and doesn't fit in. When Holden and the elevator boy fought, Holden just broke down in tears and cried. He couldn't handle the situation. That meant he wasn't ready for adulthood after all. After the fight, Holden felt lonely and depressed, he later started talking to Allie believing that he was near him.

  1. My Pastiche of Catcher in The Rye.

    The fresh air had done me good, but I was still pretty damn cold. Boy! It was like a goddamn ice box out there, it was cold even for December! I figured I'd head straight to the can, a hot shower was exactly what I needed.

  2. The Catcher in the Rye - That The Novel Justifies the Murder of John ...

    I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all (Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye). The cliff is the brink of adulthood in Holden's mind, and he feels that any children that fall over it change into the phonies that he despises.

  1. Themes in The Catcher in the Rye

    His brother Allie is already dead and he takes his baseball mitt with poems written on it to wherever he goes. So he can look at it whenever he misses him. He feels more depressed when he is in the room with Phoebe because he can't name anything he likes when Phoebe asks him what he likes.

  2. Holden's spiritual Journey in the Catcher in the Rye

    Though he never affirms this as the direct cause of his insanity, he manages to acknowledge his instable behavior only started after Allie's death; such as smashing all the windows. He makes this connection through the words "I broke all the goddam windows with my fist the night he died...

  1. The Catcher In The Rye

    Holden had now deliberately involved himself with the adult world and must extricate himself. He was searching for love and she was selling sex. Holden refused to proceed once he began to consider the prostitute as an individual. He could no longer consider her as a sex object and he gathered a feeling of sympathy for her, instead.

  2. To What Extent Does Salinger Make You Sympathize With Holden Caulfield

    Give her my regards, willya?' 'Okay,' Stradlater said but I knew he probably wouldn't." This makes you feel empathy for Holden as even though he knows Stradlater won't mention him to Jane he still hasn't got enough courage to go down and talk to her.

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