RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 20

Chapter 20


  1. What does Holden’s wound symbolize on page 150?
  2. What is significant about Holden’s sitting on the radiator in the men’s room?
  3. Of what significance is it that Holden breaks the record he had bought for Phoebe?
  4. Does Holden find the ducks in the park when he goes there? In what ways is his discovery symbolic?
  5. Why is it particularly pathetic that there are chunks of ice in Holden’s hat?
  6. What does Holden find hypocritical about funerals?


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6 Answers

Why is it particularly pathetic that there are chunks of ice in Holden’s hat?

Holden seems to have a profound fascination with the red hunting cap he had brought. Everything he does, he does with the hunting cap on. Holden’s hunting cap is a garment used to protect him from the ice and snow of winter. When walking to the train station, Holden says that the “earlaps” of the cap had kept him “nice and warm”. However, this might not be the only protection that it offers. Holden’s red hunting cap could also symbolize protection of childhood naivete.

When Holden wears the hat to Central Park, chunks of ice still form on his hair, and when he stands in the rain watching Phoebe ride the carousel he states, “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway” . At this point, Holden begins to realize “that the cap… provides, at best, only a partial protection from the unexpected drenching”. Similarly, the hat cannot fully protect Holden from the inevitability of growing up and facing the adult world.

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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