Allie’s mitt was a very important symbol in Catcher In The Rye, the mitt had poems written all over it. Allie was Holden’s little brother, he got leukemia and died in Maine. Allie’s mitt symbolizes the innocence that Holden yearns for , Allie’s innocence was preserved in the mitt. Allie died when he was young, he was still innocent. By dying young Allie stayed out of the phony, adult world. In some ways Holden wants to be Allie. Holden wanted to preserve his own innocence but he could not.
A baseball mitt is a common part of childhood, so it has the “power” to preserve innocence. The most interesting part about Allie’s mitt are the poems, a grown up would not be writing poems and reading them during the game, he would be competitive, and all he would want is to win. Allie was to innocent he did not care about winning he just wanted to play baseball. Allie’s death was tragic but maybe it is the death that Holden wanted for himself , he wanted to preserve his innocence.
One example of Allie’s innocence is ” He was also the nicest, in lots of ways. He never got mad at anybody” Holden valued the mitt he only showed it to one person outside his family, Jane , “She was the only one, outside my family, that I ever showed Allie’s baseball mitt to, with all the poems written on it. She’d never met Allie or anything … ” Jane was one of the only people that Holden liked, she liked poems she also liked the innocence that the mitt had. She related to Holden and in a way was like him. Allie’s mitt ties in with the catcher in the rye.
Holden wants to become a catcher in the rye, “Anyway, I keep picturing all this little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids and nobody’s around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch if they’re running and they don’t look where where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.
Holden is falling, he knows how it feels to fall down that cliff into the phony world. He wants to catch children, he does not want them to face the problems of the world. Holden using the mitt that preserved Allie’s innocence wanted to save other children’s innocence. There is an irony here, Holden could not save himself so he is trying to save others. Holden went through many life changing events, he had to break and he did. Holden’s main problem is a lack of tolerance for the worlds problems, he had all this anger inside him, he lets it all out with a nervous breakdown.
His last hope for survival was trying to stay innocent and being with phoebe, inside her innocence. The whole book is based on a symbol of the catcher in the rye. The author definitely chose a very good symbol to convey all the ideas I listed. The innocence can be clearly seen in the symbol, it can be understood by a normal person who is not going in depth. J. D. Salinger used Allie’s mitt to convey the innocence that Holden yearns for, and there is no better symbol to do this.