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Summary: Realism Throughout the Catcher in the Rye

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In the catcher and the rye and little miss sunshine the families are brought together by love and compassion for one another. Salinger uses symbolism to represent the past lives of Holden, olive and phoebe. Growing up isn’t easy but Holden has to leave his kid memories behind and become an adult. Holden has to overcome and grow up from his young days in his life.

The ducks in the catcher and the rye are a big symbol that Salinger used to represent Holden’s life. Holden’s wonderingness about where the ducks go during the winter show us a more young side to his character. For most of the book he sounds grumpy who is angry at the world for not being how he wanted it to be but his search for the ducks shows us the curiosity of youth and a happy to encounter the wonders of the world. Holden lacks such willingness in other aspects of his life. Holden’s fixation on the ducks is also a symbol of his struggle with change and growing up. He wants things to stay the same, but the ducks must adapt to the environment it’s like survival of the fittest.

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Holden admires walking in the street rather than on the sidewalk singing the Robert Burns song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.” Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life, he says his image from the song “catcher in the rye.” Holden imagines a field of rye perched high on a cliff, full of children romping and playing. He says he would like to protect the children from falling off the edge of the cliff by catching them if they were on the verge of tumbling over. As Phoebe points out, Holden has misheard the lyric. He thinks the line is “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” but the actual lyric is “If a body meet a body, coming through the rye.” Phobe tells Holden that’s not realistic and she is always honest with him.“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all”. Phoebe is Holden’s closest friend and family member he would do anything for her. Holden would only grow up and make his life better for Phoebe which is his little sister.

The bright yellow VW family van is an excellent example of symbolism within the film. The van itself 1960s-1970s, is a symbol representation of the family and their dysfunction. For example, along the way they have multiple problems with their vehicle, firstly, the horn plays up, which causes them to be pulled over by a Police Officer. In the tense moments before the Officer reaches their Van, Richard says to the family ” Everyone, just try and act normal ” as the family themselves are seen as weird people and as far away from normal as possible.The family is told by a Mechanic that the Van can still start but only in third gear you just have to be really good at starting it.Olive and Holden are close to similar between there daring ness to do what they want and be confident in what they do and just try to live life to their fullest. Olive wants to enter a beauty pageant and she feels like she can win but her family knows she can not compete with the other contestants. Holden doesn’t have the family support like olive has but he has his little sister Phoebe she is Holden’s biggest supporter he would do anything for her.

The place that Holden feels like a kid most again is the museum he went to when he was a kid because everyone was so nice to him and when the tour guide said don’t touch he said it in such a nice voice because he was a little kid.”The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move.”Holden liked this because he can always come back and remind himself when he was a kid and he can get that kid like feeling again that he wants throughout the book he wants to be a kid again and not have to worry about adult problems and ideas. Holden would like to see the funnies and the realism of childhood preserved. “Certain things should stay the way they are,” he says, like the huge objects in the glass cases of the museum which never change their positions.The carousel in the catcher in the rye is a huge part of symbolism.”Then the carousel started, and I watched her go around and around. There were only about five or six other kids on the ride, and the song the carousel was playing was Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.’ Smoke gets in your eyes was a metaphor for crying. A person who was crying might lie and say some smoke got in his or her eyes to make it look like they weren’t crying but just rubbing their eyes because of the smoke. Holden was crying while he watched his little sister go happily round and round on the carousel. The picture on the front and back of the book shows a carousel horse.This symbolizes Holden’s release from childhood. He doesn’t care to ride the carousel anymore. He sees that it is only a carousel and the gold ring is not really gold. He turns that chapter in his life over to his little sister. He gave up the dream of being a rescuer of children a catcher in the rye and all.“The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them.”The red hunting hat makes Holden feel like he is comfortable and that he can do whatever makes him happy In the hat. “I put on my new hat and sat down and started reading that book Out of Africa” . This quote shows how Holden is more comfortable doing things he enjoys when he is wearing the hat.

By the end of the book Holden realizes that he has to grow up and he starts to let his young self go and he starts to think and act like an adult would. “Sex is something I just don’t understand,” he exclaims with concern . Holden has needs for contact with girls who are such a mystery to him. Holden is not comfortbale around girls and his sexuallity. At the end of little miss sunshine olive realizes that she doesn’t have to win the pageant to be happy she just went out there and had fun with her family and she enjoyed her time there even though she didn’t win she brought her family together through rough times. Holden and olive both went through emotional and physical pain but they ended up good and both learned a very important lesson to grow up and just be happy in life and cherish the things and family that you do have. 

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