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The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most outstanding works in American literature and students are often assigned an essay about it. The story is full of symbolism, features interesting characters, and touches upon a variety of issues, so there are many The Catcher in the Rye essay topics you can explore. To make this project easier for you, take a look at an example of an expository paper about the significance of the carousel in the final part of the novel.
The Catcher in the Rye is a story about growing up, told through the words of the protagonist. In this light, Phoebe’s ride on the carousel highlights Holden’s transformation into an adult and his own recognition, if not acceptance of it.
The scene with the carousel triggers Holden’s release at the end of the story. He acknowledges that it has some element of magic, which is often associated with childhood. The carousel works despite the fact that it should have been closed due to wintertime. When Phoebe protests about the ride, claiming that she is too old for this kind of fun, Holden understands that she still wants to enjoy it and buys her a ticket anyway. However, he does not join her, thus showing that he has indeed become an adult.
The carousel in the story is reminiscent of the statues in the Museum of Natural History. It represents something unchangeable, which cannot be touched by the flow of time. This solid symbol highlights the changes that occur in the children, who ride it. Holden takes great pleasure in watching Phoebe ride, capturing this fleeting moment of childhood happiness. His craving for it is an indication that he is not ready to accept his status as an adult yet.
Throughout the narration, it becomes obvious that Holden does not truly mature. He shows some indication of recognizing his new status when he comments on how children are trying to grab the gold ring and that he should not try to catch them when they fall.
The carousel scene is the beginning of Holden’s journey into adulthood. It is the moment when he accepts that he cannot stop himself from becoming an adult. This recognition comes with an emotional release that causes him to cry. However, even in recognizing the inevitability of change, he still rejects it by staying outside the carousel, joining neither children in their play, nor the adults seeking cover.
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