Subjectivity of interpretations

The article below may contain speculations based on studies on the literature of J. D. Salinger and may be subject to different interpretations, and thus are not absolute and necessarily the correct explanations. Points presented here are merely from literary analysis by other readers to serve as guide. Please take with a grain of salt.

Arguably the most recognizable element of The Catcher in the Rye is the red hunting cap worn by Holden Caulfield for most of the story.

Description Edit

Holden bought the hat during his short trip to New York with the fencing team for $1 prior to the beginning of the novel.[1] The hat is a "deer shooting hat", according to Holden's friend Robert Ackley, with "one of those very, very long peaks."

"[Ackley] took another look at my hat [...] “Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake,” he said. “That’s a deer shooting hat.”
“Like hell it is.” I took it off and looked at it. I sort of closed one eye, like I was taking aim at it. “This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat.”"

Holden wears the hat usually with the peak way around the back because according to him, he looked good in it that way.

The Catcher in the Rye Edit

Holden first wears the hat after getting back in his dorm room to sit back and read Out of Africa.

Analysis Edit

Much interpretations have been given to the fact that the Holden's hat is for hunting, connoting an underlying theme of preys, death and violence. Much attention has also been given to Holden's statement that he "shoot[s] people in this hat".

Some have argued that the hat is a representation of his multidimensional, and rather rebellious personality:

References Edit

  1. Chapter 3