Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is faced with many obstacles. The most difficult obstacle Holden must overcome is his journey from childhood into adulthood. Through Holden visiting the Museum of Natural History, wondering where the ducks from the frozen pond went, and watching his younger sister Phoebe on the carousel, he transforms into a man.
Upon Holden Caulfield's return home from Pencey Prep, he stops by the Museum of Natural History. Holden had loved the museum since childhood, because it was the same each time he went. His dream is to live in a world without change, where everything is eternally fixed. During his time at the museum, Holden realizes that he may not like it as much as he used to. He sees that every time he goes to the museum it has not changed but he has. Holden is afraid of growing up and becoming a "phony" adult. He thinks that almost every adult is a sell out and constantly criticizes them throughout the entire novel. His Older brother D.B. was a nice guy, a great writer, but once he got older he transformed into a "phony" adult. Holden's visit to the museum made him see that there is no way you can prevent yourself from change.
Another point in Holden's journey from adolescence into adulthood occurs in a New York City cab. Holden asks the cab driver about a pond in Central Park:.
""The ducks. Do you know, by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves -go south or something?"" (Salinger 81-82).
Holden wants to know if someone helps the ducks to go south during winter, or if they have to do it all alone. The ducks symbolize Holden. He is indirectly asking the cab driver if he will have someone to help him through his journey into adulthood. Holden probably knows that the ducks fly by themselves, but he wants reassurance. He eventually goes to the pond to check for himself, and the ducks are gone.