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It represents Holden's love for his deceased brother as well as Allie's authentic uniqueness.
He says he would like to protect the children from falling off the edge of the cliff by “catching” them if they were on the verge of tumbling over.
As Phoebe points out, Holden has misheard the lyric.
He thinks the line is “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” but the actual lyric is “If a body meet a body, coming through the rye.” The song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” asks if it is wrong for two people to have a romantic encounter out in the fields, away from the public eye, even if they don’t plan to have a commitment to one another.
It is highly ironic that the word “meet” refers to an encounter that leads to recreational sex, because the word that Holden substitutes—“catch”—takes on the exact opposite meaning in his mind.
Preparatory School Life A literary symbol is something, often an object, that stands for a significant concept or series of ideas.
Sometimes it is emblematic of the values of the characters.At the same time, he is very self-conscious about the hat—he always mentions when he is wearing it, and he often doesn’t wear it if he is going to be around people he knows.The presence of the hat, therefore, mirrors the central conflict in the book: Holden’s need for isolation versus his need for companionship.For Holden, the schools represent the phony, cruel world of those who run them.Even the advertisements for Pencey Prep are misleading.For most of the book, he sounds like a grumpy old man who is angry at the world, but his search for the ducks represents the curiosity of youth and a joyful willingness to encounter the mysteries of the world.It is a memorable moment, because Holden clearly lacks such willingness in other aspects of his life.As the source of the book’s title, this symbol merits close inspection.It first appears in Chapter 16, when a kid Holden admires for walking in the street rather than on the sidewalk is singing the Robert Burns song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye.” In Chapter 22, when Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life, he replies with his image, from the song, of a “catcher in the rye.” Holden imagines a field of rye perched high on a cliff, full of children romping and playing.Part of Holden's dilemma is that he struggles so hard against a system into which he was born.Allie's Baseball Glove Allie's left-handed baseball glove is a physically smaller but significant symbol in the novel.