Catcher In The Rye Red Hunting Hat Essay

Catcher In The Rye Red Hunting Hat Essay-44
Holden buys the hat immediately after he has lost the fencing foils: "It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks.I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils." Interestingly, Freud performed a dream analysis involving a hat with a similar appearance, and he immediately associated the symbol as phallic: "No doubt the hat was a male genital organ, with its middle-piece sticking up and its two side-pieces hanging down" ( 361).lends itself particularly well to a psychoanalytic read because Holden himself is in a psychoanalytic session for the entirety of the novel; however, this therapist is neither seen nor described to the reader.

Holden buys the hat immediately after he has lost the fencing foils: "It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks.I saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils." Interestingly, Freud performed a dream analysis involving a hat with a similar appearance, and he immediately associated the symbol as phallic: "No doubt the hat was a male genital organ, with its middle-piece sticking up and its two side-pieces hanging down" ( 361).

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Holden is symbolically castrated early on in the novel as he is expelled from school ("I got the ax"), and again when he loses his fencing foils on the subway.

As a result, Holden fetishizes his phallic replacement: the red hunting cap that will become his focus for the entirety of the novel.

The hat replaces the foils and somewhat restores his castrated self.

The loss of the foils is countered by the gain of the hat; as such, his masculine potency is at least partially restored.

Interestingly, while the reader is interpreting Holden’s speech for psychological information, Holden himself is interpreting the speech of those around him.

When discussing his Oral Expression class, Holden notes with disgust his teacher’s strategy to keep students on task by yelling "digression" whenever a student strayed from the main point: "The trouble with me is, I interest you most." By following his line of reasoning, the reader must unravel Holden’s own digressions and obsessions in order to determine their significance.

Strauch points out that he wears the hat "backwards like a catcher" (10), an undoubtedly pointed correlation with the novel’s title as well as Holden’s view of himself as a savior.

Bryan interprets the hat as a symbol of Holden’s "aggressive and withdrawing tendencies" (1074).

As Holden reveals more of his exploits, he is acting out the Freudian "talking cure" by transferring his psychical tensions to the reader as psychotherapist.

The reader, in analyzing Holden’s psychological state, is dependent upon his vacillations in speech, his obsessions, and digressions to determine his latent anxieties.

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