What do suitcases symbolize in the Catcher in the Rye?

I'm talking about the nun's suitcases that appear on page 109, for more detail. I think Holden also mentions them when he's discussing his old roommate.

So what do they symbolize? And explain?

4 Answers

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I definitely agree with the baggage concept. I didn't look at the links the last responder provided, but it makes perfect sense. The thing that changes Holden's mind about running away is the image of Phoebe crossing the street, wearing his hunting hat and carrying his suitcase. She appears like a miniature version of himself, and he realizes he'll be destroying what's left of her childhood if he leaves and she comes with him. He doesn't want Phoebe to follow in his footsteps as the misguided failure he thinks he is. And he definitely doesn't want her to carry the burden of his emotional baggage. She is seen doing this earlier in the novel, when she comforts him as he cries. She also asks for the pieces of the "Little Shirley Beans" record, preserving something that has been shattered -- like Holden's world.

    There's a case for the social status they represent, but more deeply underneath that, is the crap we are burdened with in life. That emotional baggage we all carry, and sometimes see others bear the brunt of for us.

  • 10 years ago

    Holden elaborates on the suitcases because he is trying to make a point that people judge others based on their belongings, in this case, suitcases. Holden is talking about the prejudices that are ingrained into people, the judgment others make based on first impressions.

    Source(s): enotes + myself
  • reader
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Actually Salinger may have been the first person to use baggage as a way of symbolizing the emotional freight that each of us carries through life.

    http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/08/09/how_to...

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=emo...

    Kinda lame ...

    http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/men/emotional-...

    Amyway, I may be full of it but I've always kind of thought this.

  • golka
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Catcher In The Rye Suitcases

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