The Red Hunting Hat is mentioned a numerous amount of times throughout The Catcher in the Rye. Holden buys a red hunting hat that he saw in a window of a sports store when he got out of the subway and says, “I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks” (Salinger 17). Holden thinks the hat looks good on him, so he naturally feels better when he wears the hat. This is contrary to many of the feelings Holden goes through in the book. The hat is worn for hunting, but Holden is wearing it for self esteem reasons. Holden does not want to be like the “normal” person in society because he thinks that they are phonies. He thinks that most people are phonies and that they are not doing or saying what they really feel. They are living a fake life in the eyes of Holden. Holden does not want to look different all the time, so when he checks into the Edmont Hotel in New York after he leaves school, and decides not to go home, he takes the hat off and tells the audience, “I took the hat off before I checked in. I didn’t want to look like a screwball or something” (Salinger 61). Holden may want to be unique, but he does not always want to look different from everybody else. The color of the hat symbolizes Holden’s deceased brother and his alive sister as well.  Allie and Phoebe were both redheads.  Since Holden cared a lot about them, the hat probably reminds him of them.  Later on in the story, when Holden plans to run away from home and go out west, he gives Phoebe his precious hat. Holden gave it to Phoebe most likely so she can remember him. He also feels that the hat offers a sense of comfort, and he wants Phoebe to be protected from the society that will take away her innocence. Phoebe is also sporting it when she asks if she can go with Holden. The hat makes Holden feel special, isolated from the world and protected from adult life. Holden might want to belong, but he does not know how to fit in.

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