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In Chapter 16 of The Catcher in the Rye, the second-to-the-last paragraph reads,
I took my hunting hat out of my pocket while I walked, and put it on. I knew I wouldn't meet anybody that knew me, and it was pretty damp out. I kept walking and walking, and I kept thinking about old Phoebe going to that museum on Saturdays the way I used to. I thought how she'd see the same stuff I used to see, and how she'd be different every time she saw it. It didn't exactly depress me to think about it, but it didn't make me feel gay [happy] as hell, either. Certain things they [sic] should stay the way they are....Anyway, I kept thinking about all that while I walked.
Written in the vernacular of the 1950's, there is an almost diary-like style to Holden's confessional narration that touches upon the interior monologues of this age. Certainly, in this paragraph, it becomes evident that Holden Caulfield has difficulty dealing with reality. His central conflict of desire for isolation--he hides under the red hunting hat where he can be different--vs. need for companionship are defined in this paragraphs by means of symbolism. That is, Holden's desire for the company of Phoebe and Allie, two pure and innocent youngsters, is symbolized by the red hat which matches the color of their hair; then, this desire conflicts with his urge to withdraw from a society that he perceives is hypocritical, feelings that are symbolized by the "big glass cases" in which he desires certain things could be preserved. Holden longs for something that is constant, wishing that certain things such as purity and innocence could be kept pure and protected in these cases "and just leave them alone." In addition to expressing the conflicts within Holden, this paragraph also serves to depict his trepidation about entering the world of adults.
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