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In Catcher in the Rye, what is the significance of the Natural History Museum and what...

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xxkayleighxx | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 5, 2007 at 1:28 AM via web

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In Catcher in the Rye, what is the significance of the Natural History Museum and what does this tell us about the main character Holden Caufield ?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 5, 2007 at 7:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Holden has good memories about visiting the museum when he was younger. The thing he likes about the place and the artifacts in it is that everything remains the same, frozen in time.  This relates directly to the basis of Holden's depression.  He wants to cling to the security of childhood, when things were simple and people were genuine - "natural", as it were - and not "phony".   Holden cannot accept the changes that come with growing up.  It is no accident, though, that when he tries to go into the museum, something inside him prevents him from doing so.  Despite what Holden may wish, time marches on, and he can't go back to his life as it was before.

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