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Catcher in the Rye- Ducks in the Lagoon Symbolism

Claudia. Aguilar Ms. McMaughn ENG 4C Nov, 17/2011 The Cather in the Rye Symbol Assignment Throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D Salinger a symbol that my group chose that we believe represents Holden is the ducks at Central park south. Holden repeatedly asks people where the ducks go because he likes the ducks staying where they are. Holden worries about the ducks at Central park south “But I didn’t see any ducks around . . . but I didn’t see a single duck. I thought maybe if they were any around, they might be asleep or something near the grass and all.

That’s how I nearly fell in. but I couldn’t find any” (Salinger 154). Holden then asks the taxi cab driver who he doesn’t know where the ducks go. “You know those ducks in the lagoon right near Central park south? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you know by any chance? ”(Salinger 90). “I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go. I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over.

I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away” (Salinger 13). Holden often wonders and questions where the ducks go during the winter. Holden doesn’t like the ducks flying south and wonders why and where they go. To Holden the ducks represent people, and the ducks flying south symbolize change in people which he doesn’t like. Holden doesn’t like change, he wants everyone to stay the same like for instance; stay being a kid.

Holden enjoys innocence in children and believes kids are the truth. When children grow up, they change and to Holden become something there not which he calls “phonies”. Holden observes a child walking down the street next to the little boys’ parents and is singing about the catcher. “He was making out like he was walking a very straight line; the way kids do, and kept singing and humming . . . he had a pretty little voice too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you can tell” (Salinger 115).

Holden tries to protect the innocence of the children. The ducks can also be used to symbolize the pressures in Holden’s life. As the temperature rises, the pond freezes from the outside in. This causes the ducks to be moved to a more confined space slowly which cause them to eventually flee. The frozen pond in the novel can be used to represent the pressures in Holden’s life closing in on him causing him to move on and find a solution. An example of this is when Holden is kicked out of multiple schools and is forced to move on and find a solution.

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