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What does Allie's glove symbolize in The Catcher in the Rye? Why does Holden keep the...

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davix07 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 20, 2008 at 8:29 AM via web

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What does Allie's glove symbolize in The Catcher in the Rye? Why does Holden keep the glove?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2008 at 8:41 AM (Answer #2)

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Figuratively, Allie's glove is a symbol for Holden's emotional expression.  He keeps it hidden, it is precious and holds his heart.  Allie's glove has poetry written on it. When Holden has to write a composition for Stradlater's homework, he looks to Allie's glove for inspiration.  Allie's glove is Holden's connection to his feelings, which he reserves for a very few, Allie being one and Phoebe, his little sister, being the other. 

It is connected to the story, because at the heart of the story is Holden's grief over his brother's death. Holden needs help dealing with this grief.  He must take out the glove, literally and confront his pain and acknowledge his feelings in order to release himself from the terrible guilt and loss that he feels. 

Holden does not understand why Allie who was much smarter than him died.  He feels guilty that he, who lives because he is not sick like Allie was, is inferior and stupid. So it is the central emotion that dominates Holden's journey throughout the book.   

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allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted January 20, 2008 at 9:50 AM (Answer #1)

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Holden keeps Allie's baseball glove because it is a reminder the kind of person his brother was: intelligent, friendly, and inventive. The glove has poems written all over it because Allie wanted something to read when he was in the outfield. Holden wrote Stradlater's essay on the glove and then tore the essay up when Stradlater did not appreciate the gesture. By writing about Allie's glove, the reader sees Holden's sensitive side. At this point in the novel (ch 5), Holden's memories of Allie are the only things he enjoys and we realize that his brother's death has had a major impact on Holden's life. Throughout the novel, Holden talks to Allie, as if he is there, and at one point even asks Allie not to let him "disappear." Holden depends upon his brother and the glove is his tangible reminder of him.

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cruiousliza | Student , Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 13, 2011 at 8:37 AM (Answer #3)

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Holden loved Allie because he was so young and was a child. (Also, he died of Leukemia)Holden is very fond of children because they are still pure. They cannot be phony or greedy because they do not yet know how. Holden is especially interested in children because at this point they are still pure and moldable and he wishes they could be the kind of person he wishes to be. Not phony. The mitt represents Allie. Holden wrote Stradlater's essay on the glove and then tore the essay up when Stradlater did not appreciate the gesture. By writing about Allie's glove, the reader sees Holden's sensitive side. At this point in the novel (Ch. 5), Holden's memories of Allie are the only things he enjoys and we realize that his brother's death has had a major impact on Holden's life. Throughout the novel, Holden talks to Allie, as if he is there, and at one point even asks Allie not to let him "disappear." Holden says, “I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddamn windows with my fist, just for the hell of it”. This means the death of Allie had a huge impact in him and brought out the bitterness that is the Holden we know now. Holden depends upon his brother and the glove is his reminder of him. Holden is often depressed, mostly because of thinking of what he would do if he let himself forget Allie, or being unable to keep Phoebe from becoming phony, and worst of all, himself becoming a “phony”.

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terifoltz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:33 PM (Answer #6)

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When Holden writes an essay about Allie's glove for his roommate,  Stradlater is furious with him.  Why does he write about the glove?  The assignment was to describe an object or a room, and  Holden writes about an object that is important to HIM with little regard as to whether or not Stradlater will appreciate it.  In fact, he probably knows that Stradlater will NOT.  This choice prepares the reader for several things:  1) Holden is "different" or at the very least, he feels "different" than others his age.  2)  Allie is a very important person to Holden and he probably has not grieved sufficiently for hi.  He "needs" to write about the glove.

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tristan89 | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 2, 2012 at 3:07 AM (Answer #5)

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Holden only shows Aliie's baseball mitt to one person in the book and that's Jane Gallagher.  Jane was the only person that Holden tried to show any emotion towards.  To everyone else, he just called them "phony."  My point is that the mitt is a representation of Holden's bent-up feelings and emotions, and Holden can only convey those withheld emotions through his little brother.   

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Wiggin42 | Student , Grade 12 | eNoter

Posted March 28, 2014 at 9:02 PM (Answer #7)

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Allie's glove symbolizes love and empathy in the novel. Holden has trouble sympathizing with others and fitting in. Allie was the one person Holden could truly identify with and care for. When Allie died, Holden punched out the windows until his hand turned bloody. He can't even make a proper first because of that. Holden is still very much grieving for Allie and carries Allie's glove around as a sentimental reminder. 

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