What do the ducks symbolize in “The Catcher in the Rye”?

J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” uses the ducks that Holden Caulfield is concerned about throughout the book as a symbol of his own anxiety and fear of change. This symbolizes Holden’s feeling of being lost and his dread of not being able to adjust to the ever-evolving world. He is worried about where the ducks go when the pond freezes over in the winter, just as he worries about his own unpredictable future. Holden’s fixation on the ducks is also a representation of his wish to protect others from the cruel realities of life. He wants to be the “catcher in the rye,” a figure who saves children from falling off the edge of a cliff and into the adult world, which is a result of his own trauma and grief, and his inability to accept the death of his younger brother Allie. Additionally, the ducks can be interpreted as a metaphor for the novel’s main theme of innocence and the loss of innocence. The ducks are a symbol of the fleeting innocence that is lost as one matures and faces the difficulties and duties of adulthood. Holden, in his own way, is trying to keep his own innocence and protect others from losing theirs. In conclusion, the ducks in “The Catcher in the Rye” are a powerful symbol that represents Holden’s fear of change, his desire to save others from the harsh realities of the world, and the novel’s main theme of innocence and the loss of innocence.


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