Works of literature often use objects and characters as symbols to aid in thematic development. Using Catcher in the Rye show how J.D. Salinger uses symbols to develop a theme.
In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger, words and objects are used as symbols to aid in thematic development. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work, through the use of symbols, the painfulness of growing up, is developed in The Catcher of the Rye. Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. In a transition through childhood to adulthood, the protagonist, Holden, finds himself resisting the process of maturity. The “Catcher in the Rye”, the Ducks in Central Park and the Museum of Natural History all contribute to the painfulness Holden experiences on his journey to adulthood.
The “Catcher in the Rye” is symbolic of Holden’s safety net from adulthood. When first appearing in the novel, Holden watches a fortuneless family, and was inspired by the 6 year-old boy. As the young boy walks carelessly on the street rather than on the sidewalk, Holden can hear him singing and humming ‘Coming through the Rye’. Hearing this song, made Holden, a depressed and unusual boy, feel better, and it made him feel “not so depressed anymore”. Through the lyrics “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” Holden imagines a field of rye on cliff surrounded with thousands of little kids, running and not looking where they are going. Holden tells his sister, that he’d like to protect those children, and catch them if they were about to fall. He wants to be their “catcher in the rye”. This represents Holden’s opposition to adulthood. By saying that he would like to catch the children from falling from the field of rye, this represents, catching them from falling out of the innocence of childhood, and into the knowledge of adulthood. The painfulness of adulthood is too strong for...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document