I would read this book just for the ducks.
No joke. More on why this symbol is so cool—and memorable—right after this. There’s so much going on in the symbol of
the ducks in the Central Park Lagoon that it’s hard to know where to start. OK, how about with the theme I can’t stop
talking about: the theme about growing up. The ducks reinforce this theme in two ways: First, the fact that Holden is obsessed with
finding out where the ducks go in the winter shows his childlike side. Second, the passage of time is often conveyed
by the seasons changing, right? So the fact that Holden wants to know where the ducks
go in the winter also reminds us that the seasons of Holden’s life are changing, too.
Just like the ducks can’t avoid the impending winter, Holden can’t avoid having to face
adulthood. But wait! There’s more! And here’s where it gets really cool. Because even the lagoon itself is part of
this symbol. Did you notice that it’s part frozen and part unfrozen? It’s like the pond is exactly where Holden
is—in between two states. And it’s only a matter of time until both
Holden and the lagoon transition to something inhospitable to the innocence of ducks.