As a reclusive writer and literature hermit, J.D. Salinger enjoys a high prestige in the world with his first and only novel The Catcher in the Rye. This novel was listed as banned book and later became a world--- enduring classic，and Salinger is regarded as a classical writer whose works are most widely read by Americans. It is really unusual in the history of the world literature. The Catcher in the Rye describes the ugliness and loss of the capitalist world after World War II in the third person and a youth’s tone, which has aroused great empathy among readers especially teenagers. Based on the theory of symbolism, the thesis defines various symbols in this novel in the light of longitudinal relations, excavates miscellaneous symbolic contents in the novel roundly and systemically, and discusses how symbolism serves to highlight the theme of works and depict the characteristics of characters.
The first chapter explores the symbolic imagery in the novel. Symbolism is strongly reflected in this novel, ranging from story background and natural environment to appearance and clothing of characters. Pencey Prep and New York, which respectively symbolize the mainstream social culture and hypo-stream social culture, left Holden in choke and desperation, thus molding his unusual and extreme characters. The objects in the novel such as rye, cliff, Holden’s hunting hat and his grey hair refract the themes and characters features of the novel.
The second chapter analyzes symbolic characters and their activities. The figures in this novel can be clarified into positive and negative, for example, Holden’s girlfriends Sally and Jane represent profane and platonic loves; Stradlater, Sunny and Allie, Phoebe are spokesmen of goodliness and ugliness. Besides, some figures’behaviors also have distinct symbolic meanings.
The third chapter discovers symbolism in the works from the perspective of colors. Different colors referred to in this novel including red, white, black, blue, pink and so on contain various symbolic connotations under specific language environment and culture. For instance, white stands for purity and goodness; black represents evil and fear. The writer presents deep symbolic meanings with these colors to feature the theme of this novel.
A. Research background 5
B. Literature review 6
Chapter One Symoblic imagery in the novel 15
A. Symbolic meanings of settings and environment 15
B. Symbolic meanings of natural sceneries 15
C. Symbolic meanings of objects 22
Chapter Two Symbolic characters in the novel 29
A. Sally and Jane 29
B. Stradlater, Sunny and Allie, Castle 31
C. Holden 34
Chapter Three Symbolic colors in the novel 36
A. Symbolic meanings of red 36
B. Symbolic meanings of white and black 38
C. Symbolic meanings of blue and other colors 39
A. Research Background
After the Second World War, the United States accumulated a lot of material wealth, and people's living standards increased quickly. However, as a result of the U.S. Government’s Truman Doctrine and McCarthyism, it showed its strength to other countries and conducted high pressure policy to its people. In the