Selah a young boy named Holden, and displays events

Selah JoyceJanuary 24, 2018English 11Final: Prompt 1Many individuals in today’s society turn to materialistic things when they feel the need to fill a gap in their lives – and in Holden’s case, it is his red hunting hat. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger tells the story of a young boy named Holden, and displays events and experiences through Holden’s own eyes. Holden has been through it all: his brother died at a young age, his family relationship was rocky from the start, and he was recently sent away to an oppressive boarding school. At Pencey Prep, it is difficult for Holden to relate to teenagers his own age. He is despondent, contumacious, and growing up fast. Unfortunate emotionally draining events happen to Holden after he is kicked out of his first school, and now more than anything, he wants to be alone. Through Holden’s hardest times, one of the only things that he has to combat his emotions is his hunting hat. Not only does Holden’s red hunting hat bring him confidence when no one else is around, but it gives him a sense of protection and individuality. Holden struggles with confidence and has a hard time relating to boys and girls his own age. However, when Holden bought his unique red hunting hat for a dollar at a NY market, he soon realizes that it can raise his personal confidence levels. Holden stated, “It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks. I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils. It only cost me a buck. The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back–very corny, I’ll admit, but I liked it that way. I looked good in it that way” (Salinger 17). Saying this, the reader can tell that Holden enjoys the way the hat makes him feel. It sort of gives him something to feel proud of…he likes the way it looks on him, despite him knowing it may look slightly corny. While in Pencey Prep, Holden stated, “I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, “Sleep tight, ya morons!” (Salinger 52). The red hunting hat gives Holden bursts of confidence. The death of his younger brother, Allie, specifically drains Holden emotionally because he cared so much for him. However, because this hat brings Holden a sense of confidence that he’s never felt before, he could care less at this point how other people view him.Since Holden went through tragic events as a young boy, he turns to things that make him feel emotionally protected from negative experiences that might come his way. Holden acknowledged this by saying, “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way; but I got soaked anyway. I didn’t care, though” (Salinger 212). Holden is emotionally distant from both his mother and father and never had a guardian that sought out protection for him. Because of this, he uses his hat to make him feel safer. Holden beamed, “But it was freezing cold, and I took my red hunting hat out of my pocket and put it on–I didn’t give a damn how I looked. I even put the earlaps down” (Salinger 88). This goes back to the confidence that Holden feels with the hat. For once, Holden is focusing solely on himself and not worrying about the hateful things other people might say or think.Holden struggles with his self identity, and his red hat gives him a way to deal with his unsettling emotions. Throughout the entire book, Holden speaks of how much he loves his hat and how overjoyed he feels when he puts it on. He exclaimed, “I still had my red hunting hat on, with the peak around to the back and all. I really got a bang out of that hat” (Salinger 27). In the novel, the reader soon realizes how much Holden enjoys the museum…he likes how everything is stable, and unchanging. Holden is fearful of change, and fearful of going through adult-life problems. However, it’s things like the museum and his red hunting hat that makes him feel a certain type of way; like everything is okay. When he finds something he loves to hold on to, he never lets it go. Holden states: “What I did was, I pulled the old peak of my hunting hat around to the front, then pulled it way down over my eyes” (Salinger 21). He uses his red hunting hat to protect him from the world. He is his own person, and emotionally, he wants to see a change within himself. Holden’s hat brings him feelings that are missing from his life: a sense of confidence, a sense of protection, and a sense of individuality. With the current state that Holden is in emotionally, he searches for answers in materialistic things, and finds answers with the red hunting hat. The recurring statement throughout the book that catches the reader’s eye is the fact that Holden doesn’t care about what others think about it. It makes him confident, it gives him feelings he is yearning for. The red hunting hat symbolizes how Holden feels different from other people, and uses it to his power by not caring about how others view it. He is happy with it, and he is confident with it. Most importantly, it is giving him something to hide and show his emotions that have been bottled up for so long.

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