Classic English Literature
This novel has given an emphasis on Holden’s red hunting hat throughout the story. The hat symbolizes Holden’s vulnerability, insecurity and an overwhelming sense of loss. In the chapters of the book, there is a line where in Holden had stated that he gets “a big bang out of that hat”, which is an indication that the hat provides him some sense of security. In the opening part of Chapter Three of the book, Holden said that he purchased the hat in New York one morning after deciding to leave all the fencing equipment in the subway when he was enraged with all the members of the team. This only shows that he was feeling vulnerable at this instance. Holden’s character represents that he is tough, strong and indifferent, and this is the only moment wherein he demonstrated weakness. A deeper understanding of this red hunting hat provides a central symbol of Holden’s fantasy because it expresses Holden’s anger because it is a people-shooting hat. It gives him the power to achieve the feeling of rebellion because in the story, he is seen wearing the hat to escape from school as he carried on his pursuit in Manhattan. It is a catcher’s hat when the hat is worn with the peak around to the back so this suits with Holden’s fantasy for being the catcher in the rye (Graham 45). There are several occasions when Holden can be seen wearing the hat, which has already became a part of his personality. In one important moment, he wore the hat when he wrote a composition on a baseball mitt of Allie, his brother who has died.
Grahm, Sarah. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Routledge, 2007.