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Word Count: 450
JD Salinger in his coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye repeatedly uses Holden Caufields red hunting hat as a symbol to show Holdens growth from a young man terrified of becoming an adult to one who begins to accept that he must be able to live in an imperfect world In the beginning of the story Holden introduces the hat as being red and floppy and he purchases it in a store in New York when the fencing team traveled to the big city In this part of the story Holden wants to connect with Allie and does so by wearing on a red hunting hat which is a connection to his brothers red hair Another reason Holden bought the hat is to use it as an act of defiance against the fencing team He doesnt want to seem phony like the rest of the team so he retaliates by wearing the hat everywhere On the other hand whenever he is around a crowd or he doesnt want to be noticed Holden takes the hat and shoves it in his pocket By trying not to be phony Holden turns out to be the people he hates when he wears the red hunting hat Since Holden views the world with such negativity he feels that he needs to be protected and shielded from its harsh environment He becomes dependent on the hat to guard him from the cold outside world When he left the bar the lady who checked his coat told him to put on the hat because it was cold outside and his hair was all wet Holden uses the hat for protection against pneumonia when he walks down to the park In the middle of the story the hat has grown to be a crutch for Holden Towards the end of the novel Holden starts to lose his mental need for the red hat He gives it to Phoebe because he wants
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