Why is Holden obsessed with the ducks at the Central Park Lagoon?

Holden is obsessed with the ducks at the Central Park Lagoon because they symbolize youthful innocence while demonstrating that change isn’t permanent, and survival is possible even in the harshest environment. Perhaps Holden has happy childhood memories of visiting the ducks or he remembers the ducks from a time before his brother died, but ultimately, from the very beginning of the novel, Holden thinks about where the ducks at the Central Park Lagoon go during the winter. He says, “I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over,” and later he mentions, “I still didn’t know if they were around or not. . . . Then, finally, I found [the lagoon] . . . but I didn’t see a single duck.” Holden desires to find and connect with the innocence and unchanging solace that the ducks represent, but when he doesn’t, his mental health deteriorates.