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Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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1 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

2 Chapters 1 & 2 Holden visits Mr. & Mrs. Spencer’s house and describes it as depressing Fourth private school he has been kicked out of Holden is more than the conventional disaffected teen--he has deeply rooted issues/problems that follow him from school to school His appearance is adult-like (tall stature & prematurely grey hair) while he is still immature Holden introduced and narrating Describes his childhood as “lousy” and parents as nice, but “touchy as hell” Pursuing an aimless and self destructive path Self described as perpetual failure Disregard for others & displays contempt for all characters mentioned

3 Chapters 3 & 4 Admits to being a “most terrific liar”, however it is unclear if people like Mr. Spencer believe Holden’s lies Self-delusional… berates others for being phony, yet he displays the same characteristics Ackley-oblivious to all social graces; vulgar; unclean Stradlater-self centered and arrogant Holden’s disgust for school and phonies is not completely unfounded Holden--reliable narrator? Holden analyzes Stradlater Labels him a “secret slob” as opposed to Ackley Stradlater tells Holden about his date with Jane Gallagher (Holden’s former neighbor) Stradlater asks Holden to write a paper for him but not too well Holden--erratic & impulsive—ie. giving Stradlater the half nelson

4 Chapters 5 & 6 Stradlater returns, asks to read the essay and is annoyed it is only about a baseball mitt Holden tears it and then asks about the date with Jane Gallagher When Holden doesn’t like Stradlater’s response, he starts a fight Tearing up of the essay and the fight displays the erratic and uncontrollable behavior Holden exhibits…. Beyond normal teenage impulses Holden goes to movie in New York City with Ackley and Mal Brossard When they return, Holden tells Ackley to leave after he lies again about having sex with a girl. Holden has to write the essay for Stradlater Writes about dead brother Allie’s baseball mitt (Allie, 2 years younger, died of leukemia) The night Allie dies, Holden punches and breaks all of the windows in his garage First major indication of Holden’s psychological difficulties

5 Chapters 7 & 8 Holden goes to Ackley’s room and fixates on his concern for Jane Decides to leave Pencey early Typical of his behavioral pattern: impulsive, selfish, and aimless “Sleep tight, ya morons!” Has a sense that he is different and better than the others at Pencey Holden meets Mrs. Morrow, Ernest Morrow’s mom, and gives her the Pencey janitor’s name of Rudolf Schmidt Holden lies to her and tells her he has a brain tumor and cannot visit during the summer because he will be in South America with his grandmother Displays Holden’s contempt for adults and authority figures He mocks Mrs. Morrow His lies become more outlandish and shameless Treats her horribly--ridiculing and as a sexual object

6 Chapters 9 & 10 Edmond Hotel--shabby room where he is voyeuristic and watches people in other rooms Considers calling Jane Gallagher again Ends up calling Faith Cavendish--former burlesque stripper and not quite a prostitute. Asks her to get a drink and she denies him Juxtaposition of Jane Gallagher and Faith Cavendish Holden waivers in indecision particularly at beginning of chapter Describes Phoebe--intelligent, similar to Allie in physical appearance, emotional She writes books about a female detective named Hazel Weatherfield Holden goes to the Lavender Room meets three women he describes as “sad” for having a purpose (RCMH) Holden is cynical--especially about adults Allie, Phoebe, and Jane Gallagher represent innocence and childhood to Holden Another pseudonym--Jim Steele

7 Chapters 11 & 12 Holden thinks about Jane Gallagher and reveals several things: How they first met (her dog) She is the only person with whom he shared Allie’s mitt Allie’s death is significant in Holden’s life, yet he is secretive and private about Allie--repressing emotions that may eventually emerge Reinforces Holden’s suspicions of adults--Mr. Cudahy, Jane’s alcoholic stepfather--Holden suspects he abused Jane He gets in a cab on his way to Ernie’s, a nightclub in Greenwich Village, and a place D.B. frequented Chats with Horwitz, the cab driver, asking about where the duck go in the winter--Horwitz thinks it is a stupid question Runs into D.B.’s former girlfrield, Lillian Simmons and she introduces him to a Navy commander she is dating Holden displays hostility towards everyone he meets He is fixated on the phoniness of others, while expressing his own false exterior

8 Chapters 13 & 14 Walks back to hotel and decides he can confront verbally, however he cannot confront someone physically (stolen gloves) Elevator man, Maurice asks him if he wants some “tail” and offers a prostitute for $5 Sunny arrives and does not believe Holden is 22 yrs. He finally makes up an excuse to get out of getting “tail”, but still pays her Holden is immature to those around him After Sunny leaves Holden talks to Allie, which he does often when he is depressed Maurice and Sunny return and argue about the money Sunny comes in and takes the money, Holden cries, and Maurice punches him in the stomach Holden imagines a gangster scene where he shoots Maurice Self-destructive behavior Thoughts of suicide--clear sign of his despair

9 Chapters 15 & 16 Calls Sally Hayes and sets up a date to see a movie
Reveals his father is a wealthy corporation lawyer and his mother has not been well since Allie’s death Grand Central Station-meets nuns and speaks with them about R & J Notices/comments on cheap suitcases--hypocritical--although he despises the actions of the upper class and their judgemental attitude (Stradlater), he too belongs to this upper class and buys into their behaviors and value system Holden buys Phoebe a record by Estelle Fletcher called “Little Shirley Beans” Hears a kid singing “If a body catch a body coming through the rye”-Holden less depressed Buys tickets for I Know My Love starring the Lunts Phoebe’s friends tell him she is in the Museum of Natural History Holden is preoccupies with Phoebe, even more so than with his date with Sally Fascination with Phoebe--longing for childhood; resists change; fears maturity

10 Chapters 17 & 18 Holden promptly forgets about Sally and immediately returns to reminiscing about Jane Calls Carl Luce, a friend from Whooton School, and plans a meeting that night Goes to a war movie and becomes irritated with a woman who becomes emotional Thinks about D.B.’s experience in the war--D.B. made him read A Farewell to Arms Holden can analyze others accurately at times, which means that it is external factors leading to his psychological difficulties Holden meets Sally at the Biltmore and wants to marry her He becomes irritated with her when she continues mentioning she knows people He continues complaining about everything: taxicabs, living in NY, phonies, etc. Proposes they run away to the woods and get married Sally responds there will be time enough for that after college Contradictory feelings about Sally (marriage/ “royal pain in the ass”) He is unaware of his uncouth behavior--yelling at Sally in the restaurant

11 Chapters 19 & 20 Holden meets Carl Luce at the Wicker Bar
Holden immediately returns to his preoccupations with sex and begins asking Carl very personal questions Carl is offended and tells Holden how inappropriate his questions are Carl suggests that Holden sees a psychiatrist/ psychoanalyst Significant that a peer is suggesting this Carl is so irritated with Holden’s behavior hat he leaves Holden stays at the bar and get very drunk He makes a late night call to Sally which angers both Sally and her grandmother He decides to walk to the duck pond and sit at a bench. He thinks he is going to get pneumonia and imagines his funeral He missed Allie’s funeral because he was in the hospital after breaking the windows He worries about how Phoebe will react to his death He decides to go home to sneak in and see Phoebe in case it is the last time he will see her again

12 Chapters 21 & 22 She wants him to tell her one thing he actually likes
He begins to think about James Castle (J.C.) who committed suicide at Elkton Hills Holden tells Phoebe that the one think he likes is Allie--she reminds him that Allie is dead She asks him what he wants to do with his life…he responds with “if a body catch a body comin’ through the rye.” Holden wants to “save” the children who come too close to the edge…he wants to preserve innocence… Phoebe corrects him and says that the Robert Burns poem is actually, “if a body MEET a body coming through the rye” Holden arrives home and sneaks in to see Phoebe who is asleep in D.B.’s room He watcher her sleep and remarks that children, unlike adults, are peaceful when they sleep Phoebe awakens and is excited to see Holden; she tells him story after story After she realizes that he is home early and has been kicked out of school again, she worries that their father is going to kill him Phoebe=manifestation of Holden’s idealization of childhood Phoebe is realistic and confronts Holden on his unrealistic comments-- at 9, she even realizes he is immature and has no direction Holden returns to Phoebe after getting cigarettes and tries to explain why he has been kicked out

13 Chapters 23 & 24 Holden goes to Mr. Antolini’s house and sees that they have just had a party. Mr. Antolini has been drinking and Mrs. Antolini goes to make coffee. Mr. Antolini is genuinely concerned about Holden and his future Mr. Antolini warns Holden of a fall that he will experience if he doesn’t mature and change Holden finally goes to sleep He is awakened abruptly by Mr. Antolini with his hand on Holden’s head gently petting him Holden misinterprets Mr. Antolini’s actions and leaves quickly Most likely, Mr. Antolini’s actions are a fatherly gesture; he is genuinely concerned about Holden’s mental stability Holden, however, is rash Holden leaves to call Mr. Antolini, the one teacher who was able to approach James Castle’s body. Mr. Antolini offers him a place to stay for the night Holden and Phoebe dance in the room and then hear their parents come enter He hides and when everything is clear he tells Phoebe good-bye, she gives him her Christmas savings, he breaks down and cries, and gives her his red hunting hat Sub-consciously, Holden is reaching out and feels a connection with Mr. Antolini because of his interaction with James Castle

14 Chapters 25 & 26 Holden has left Mr. Antolini’s house and is wondering if he made the right decision. Trying to find a place to eat breakfast, he keeps stepping off of the curb and wondering if he’ll just keep falling and disappear. Holden is near collapse as he talks to his dead brother, Allie, for help. Holden is outraged at profanity scrawled on the walls of Phoebe’s school and at the museum. Holden met Phoebe to say goodbye but she convinces him to stay (a decision that is surprisingly easy after all of this). Phoebe rides the carousel, another element of life that is in motion yet doesn’t change. Holden is so damned happy at this point that he feels like bawling. His story ends here because that’s all Holden wants to tell us.

15 Important Characters Holden Caulfield D.B. Phoebe Allie Jane Gallagher
Mr. Antolini James Castle

16 Themes Alienation as self-protection Phoniness of the adult world
Coming of age Hypocrisy and superficiality

17 Motifs What is a motif? Loneliness
Something in the story that repeats itself Similar to a theme but doesn’t provide a message or a lesson Loneliness Relationships, intimacy, sexuality (all relate to the greater theme of alienation) Deception

18 Symbols The “Catcher in the Rye” Holden’s red hunting hat
Ducks in the Central Park Lagoon The Museum of Natural History

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