The Catcher in the Rye: Metaphor Analysis

Holden’s hunting hat: represents Holden’s isolation from society; he loves this hat because it symbolizes his independence from others; the hat, like Holden, is out of place in such a big city as New York; Holden sees himself as the catcher in the rye when he wears this hat; he tries to articulate this when he says to Ackley, “I shoot people in this hat.” The hat also helps Holden identify himself as a martyr for innocence, since he is often ridiculed for wearing it. As the story progresses, Holden becomes more and more attached to his hat, demonstrating his growing commitment to his fantasy of being the catcher in the rye.
New York City: this setting of the story is very fitting because like Holden, the city is constantly changing and transforming, learning new things and finding new experiences; Holden’s mind is like the city— always absorbing new experiences but never being able to come to any rational conclusion about them.
Kings in the back row: the concept that Jane would always put her kings in the back row is very fascinating to Holden; throughout the story Holden continually references this childhood fascination; the kings show how Holden can’t separate his past from his present; though consumed with many adult ideas, Holden is still captivated with the concept of the kings.