The Catcher in the Rye

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Holden's Red Hunting Hat Symbol Icon
Holden's red hunting hat is a symbol of his alienation. It protects him, and makes him feel unique, but also singles him out as strange, which in turn reinforces his alienation. The hat is also a symbol of Holden's attachment to childhood—it's the kind of goofy accessory that a proper adult wouldn't wear.
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Holden's Red Hunting Hat Symbol Timeline in The Catcher in the Rye

The timeline below shows where the symbol Holden's Red Hunting Hat appears in The Catcher in the Rye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Alone in his room, Holden reads Isaac Dinesen's Out of Africa while wearing his new red hunting cap . But Robert Ackley, Holden's neighbor, barges in. Ackley is repulsive, with bad skin and... (full context)
Chapter 6
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
After Stradlater leaves, Holden puts on his red hunting hat and looks at his face in the mirror. He thinks the blood makes him look... (full context)
Chapter 25
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...which makes her furious. He starts to feel faint again. When she angrily returns his hunting hat, he promises not to go away at all. She remains angry, even when he offers... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...the same song it played when he was a kid. Phoebe gives Holden back his red hunting hat and he puts it on as rain starts to fall. The hat protects him, and... (full context)