My Constructed AnswerWhen a child develops into a young man and begins making decisions about his future, the normal goal is to determine a desired career and then prepare for that career through study or training. Holden’s father wanted him to take that path and be serious minded so that he could make the right decisions in regards to his future. However in the state that Holden was in, his idea of what he wanted to do in his life was quite different from the ideas that his father had. Holden wanted to be the catcher in the rye. This concept is first seen when Holden sees a little boy walking down the street singing "If a body catch a body coming through the rye.
" The rye field is a symbol of childhood. The rye is so high that the children cannot see over it, just as children are unable to see beyond the borders of their childhood. Standing on the precipice that separates the rye field of childhood from the cliff of adulthood, Holden wants to protect childhood innocence from the fall into disillusionment that necessarily accompanies adulthood. His innocence in jeopardy, trapped between states, Holden wants to be a "catcher in the rye," a savior of the innocence missing in the world around him, a world that has let him fall over the cliff into adulthood alone. The pains of his past that he seems to try to keep unsaid foster this ideal that adulthood is a retched state to be in, full of disappointment and phony people.
This belief hinged on different events within his life including the death of his brother Allie. The conjunction of Allie's memory with the image of the duck pond helps to explain Holden's preoccupation with the pond, and establishes it as one of The Catcher in the Rye's key metaphors. Allie is gone forever, and Holden does not believe in afterlife. His atheism was mentioned in Chapter 14. Now Holden is troubled by unexplained disappearances. He in anxious to know where the ducks have gone since he feels extremely threatened by the idea that people and things just vanish, as Allie did.
The pond itself becomes a minor metaphor for the world as Holden sees it. It is "partly frozen and partly not frozen," just as Holden's world is partly made ugly by its hypocrisy and partly made.