Monday, January 10th, 2011...7:40 pm
Catcher in the Rye Questions
1. What do Holden and Stradlater fight over?
Holden pesters Stradlater for details about his night with Jane to which Stradlater is brief and vague with his answers. This seems to infuriate Holden, and he takes a sock at Stradlater.
2. Holden says that he is a “pacifist”. What is that, and is he?
A pacifist is someone who opposes violence as a means to solve problems. He is definitely not a pacifist as he is the person who throws the first blow at the moment he starts getting angry.
1. Why does Holden suddenly decide to visit Ackley’s room?
Holden suddenly decides to visit Ackley’s room because he didn’t want to stay in the same room as Stradlater after the violent fight that he had.
2. Where does Holden then decide to go?
Holden decides that he doesn’t want to stay at Pencey for any longer and instead of going home, he would stay at a hotel for a few days and enjoy a mini-vacation.
3. What is his final good-bye to Pencey Prep?
H e shouts very loudly “Sleep tight ya morons!” to the dorm room during the middle of the night.
4. Why do you think Holden was crying as he left?
Holden was crying as he left because maybe he felt bad for consistently getting kicked out of his schools. He also didn’t get a final closure with some of the people he was acquainted with at Pencey.
1. What does Holden mean when he says, “Mothers are all slightly insane”?
I don’t think his mother truly understands the type of person he is … the insane type of person he is. Ergo, he believes that his mother is insane in turn.
2. What are some of the lies Holden tells Mrs. Morrow? Do you think he’s as sorry for them as he stated?
Holden lies to Mrs. Marrow about her son, claiming that he is popular among throughout the school, that he is a shy and modest leader. Holden also tells her that the reason he is leaving Pencey early because he is going through a brain tumor surgery. Holden might have some regrets, but lying is so ingrained into his character, that it is a hard habit to stop.
1. Holden calls other people phony. In what way is he one?
Holden can be considered a phony by the way he acts towards other people juxtaposed to what he thinks in his head. When calling up Faith, he attempts to cover his age by speaking in a low “mature” voice. He doesn’t seem to want to grow up.
1. Who is Phoebe, and what is Holden’s opinion of her?
Phoebe is Holden’s sister, and Holden thinks very highly of her. She describes her as funny, smart, and with a good sense in life.
2. What evidence is there that shows us that Holden probably doesn’t look as old as he says he looks?
All the people that he meets at the club (the waiter and Beatrice) ask about his age not believing he was an older man.
1. What was the past relationship like between Holden and Jane?
Holden had an interesting relationship with Jane. They were very good friends: playing golf everyday, spending time playing checkers, and one other thing. But it seemed that Holden valued their relationship more than Jane did. Jane took it for granted when it seemed like Jane needed Holden.
1. What do Holden and the cab driver talk about?
Holden and the cab driver talk about where the animals in the lagoon in Central Park go during the winter. The cab driver gets very defensive about his opinions about the fish.
2. Why does Holden leave Ernie’s?
Holden leaves Ernie’s because he is not fond of the boring company he finds there, namely with D.B.’s exgirlfriend, Lillian Simmons and her Navy boyfriend.
1. Previously Holden stated he was a “pacifist”. Does his description of how he would deal with the “glove thief” support this, or is he just “yellow”?
I’m not sure what “yellow” means in this context. However, his description of how he would handle the “glove thief” seems to support this. But at the same time, it contradicts with his previous actions of entering the room of his neighbor and proceeding to punch him for no reason.
1. Does Holden have any guilt feelings about Allie? Do you feel this is abnormal in any way, or normal?
Holden has guilt feelings in regards to the things he wasn’t able to do with Allie like have him tag along to use the BB guns with Bobby. I think this is normal—regret is a normal aspect of human nature.
2. What made Holden cry?
Maurice and Sunny come into his hotel room to demand the money that he owed them. Sunny finds his wallet and grabs a five dollar bill. Amid Maurcie’s pushing and shoving, Holden starts crying.
3. What evidence shows us that Holden might have made a good actor?
After Maurice socked Holden in the stomach, Holden walks over to the bathroom. However, as he walks he beings painting this fabulous scene—an exaggeration of what happened. He pretends he was shot in the gut crawling for his life.
1. What is the point that Holden tries to make about people when he elaborates about the suitcases of the nuns and of his former roommate?
He deeply despises people who own inexpensive cheap-looking suitcases that don’t compare to his.
2. How does Holden treat the nuns?
He treats them very politely and engages in conversation with them. He tries his best to steer clear of conversation topics that he thinks wouldn’t be appropriate for nuns.
3. Why does Holden think it spoils a conversation if someone asks what religion he is?
It changes the perception of the person he is conversing with. I think he believes it separates them and doesn’t make them as equal as they could be without the hassle of religion.
1. Who does Holden make a date with? Why does he call her up if he thinks she’s a phony?
I believe that Holden is simply too used to phony people and he is bored.
2. How does Holden treat little kids? Give an example.
He is very courteous and nice to little kids. He admires the little boy singing to himself on the curb.
3. Does Holden know his way around the city? What does this tell us about him?
He does know his way around. This shows that he is very familiar with the area. He is a native to the city and probably spent a great deal of his childhood roaming the streets of his hometown.
1. How do Holden’s feelings for women compare to his feelings for men?
He likes women and think most of them are swell, but he feels sorry that most of them will end up with a jerk of a guy. He generalizes his gender in a negative way.
2. How does Holden feel about actors? How does he feel about The Lunts?
He thinks nearly all of actors of these shows are crap; either they don’t act like people or they act too much like people so well that it’s annoying. The latter describes his feelings for The Lunts.
3. What is Holden’s point about the difference between men owning a car and men owning a horse?
Holden believes that people are stupid when they spend their life chasing down the newest brand of cars, and he says the difference between owning a car and a horse is that at least a horse is human. This probably means that at least it has some actual sentimental feeling and value to it.
4. How does Holden describe a boy’s school when talking to Sally?
To character, he says the school is filled with a bunch of phonies who are obsessed with owning the nicest things, and you have to pretend that you like talking about sex and liquor and the football team. He also says that the school is filled with cliques that stick to themselves.
5. Why does Holden want to take off with Sally now instead of after college? What’s the difference in his eyes?
If they wait until they’re in college, not only will they not have the spirit of the youth, but also they’ll have actual responsibilities and things to be worried about and a job and so many things and join the phony adult world.
1. What is Holden’s opinion of the Christmas show at Radio City?
He doesn’t think too highly of it, not seeing the “religious or pretty” aspects of the show. However, he did like the kettle drummer in the orchestra .
2. Why did Holden think the woman who cried through the movie was a phony?
Even though the woman was supposedly a kindhearted woman for crying at the sensitive parts, she was strict and unlenient with her son who asked to go to the bathroom.
1. Why did Holden get mad at Luce for calling his (Luce’s) old girlfriend the “Whore of New Hampshire”?
Holden didn’t approve of the fact that even though Luce’s ex was “kind” enough to “get sexy with” Luce, Luce was calling her those words.
2. Who was Luce to Holden?
Luce was Holden’s Student Advisor at Whooton but ended up becoming the big-shot guy that talked about sex all day.
1. How does Holden “act” again in this chapter?
Holden acts like he was a wounded man, shot in the gut. He was quite drunk in this chapter.
2. What happens to Holden at the Wicker Bar?
He drunk dials Sally, sits soaking wet in the bathroom, and is told by many people to go home. His attempts to talk to Valencia failed.
3. What happens to Phoebe’s record?
It falls out of his hands and shatters on the ground.
4. Where does Holden go right after he leaves the bar?
After he leaves the bar, he drunkenly finds his way to the lagoon in Central Park.
5. What information does Holden finally tell us about Allie’s funeral?
Holden never actually attended Allie’s funeral. Because he officially never said good-bye to his brother, he doesn’t have true closer over the fact that Allie’s gone.
6. What does Holden say about Allie that contradicts all his other statements about being an atheist?
He says that Allie’s soul is in heaven, contradicting the fact that he said he was an atheist.
7. After he leaves the park, where does Holden go?
He heads home. He probably misses it a great deal.
1. What does Holden find so intriguing about Phoebe’s note- book?
Not only does he find children’s notebooks interesting in itself, he also finds it interesting that she changes her middle name from Josephine to Weatherfield.
1. Why did it depress Holden when an “old guy” told him that his days at Pencey were the happiest days of his life?
Holden hated his brief time that he spent at Pencey, and it depressed him that someone found enjoyment in his personal hell hole.
2. What does it tell us about Holden when Phoebe states, “You don’t like anything that’s happening”?
Holden is so rooted into the life that he lead in the past with Allie and everything that anything that is occurring in the present time is “phony” and un-enjoyable in his eyes.
3. Why does Holden think about James Castle when Phoebe asks him to name one thing that he likes a lot? Why does he deny really knowing James? What does it tell us about Holden when he says, “Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake—especially if they were a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all”?
He respects people who are not phony. This boy proved the ultimate test in staying true to himself. Castle stayed so true to himself that he would rather die than be somebody he wasn’t. I think he denies knowing James because if he knew James all that well, maybe he would’ve been expected to stand up for him. Holden feels guilty that he didn’t do anything to stop the boys. He connects it to the death of Allie and how he will keep on loving his brother despite the fact that he has moved on to another place.
4. What does Holden tell Phoebe he’d like to be?
Holden tells Phoebe that he would like to be a catcher in the rye—somebody who stands in the middle of a wheat field catching any little children that happen to fall off a cliff from above.
1. Who is Mr. Antolini?
Mr. Antolini is Holden’s old teacher at the school the he got kicked out of before Pencey. Holden admired Mr. Antolini very much.
2. How does Phoebe cover for Holden when their parents come home?
Because the lights flickered on and off, she said that it was just her not being able to go to sleep. Also, she admits to her mother that the cigarette smoke that Holden was smoking actually belonged to hers.
3. In talking with her parents how does Phoebe “sound” like Holden?
She doesn’t have that much respect in her voice for the adults, and also she lies to her mother.
4. What does Phoebe do that makes Holden cry?
Phoebe gives him all of her Christmas money so that Holden is able to reamin living on the streets for a little while longer.
5. What does Holden give to Phoebe?
Holden gives Phoebe his
1. Why did Holden fail his speech class?
Holden failed his speech class because he didn’t believe in the way that the class was being taught. In the class, whenever you wander away from the topic of your speech, you lose points (while the class taunts you by yelling, “Disgression!”)
2. How does Holden feel physically while he talks to Mr. Antolini?
He felt lousy with a headache and maybe even a stomachache.
3. What does Holden say about him hating people, such as Ackley and Stradlater?
He says that he doesn’t hold a grudge for very long. He’ll harbor hatred for them so as long as those people constantly make a presence in his life every moment. If not, he forgets about it.
4. What does Antolini’s quote mean, “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one”?
It means that all the immature man wants is glory and recognition from his peers, while the mature one is self-content with himself, confident in himself.
5. How does Antolini upset and scare Holden?
While Holden was sleeping, Antolini was petting his head. Holden thought Antolini was being quite a pervert.
1. Later, after he has had time to think about it, what does Holden think about Antolini?
First of all he thinks that maybe he over-reacted to what happened. Antolini was still a pretty decent guy.
2. Why does the article on hormones upset Holden?
It talks about having good and bad hormones (and ergo, physical features). Holden said he resembled the example of who the article said bad hormones looked like.
3. What strange feeling does Holden start to have when he steps off of curbs?
Holden feels all spooked out whenever he steps off the curb as if we wouldn’t make it to the other side of the street and that he would merely keep falling down into nothingness
4. Why does he keep repeating, “Allie, don’t let me disappear”?
Because of the previous feelings that he has about disappearing off the edge of the curb, he asks for the help of his brother to keep him safe. I think he’s getting delirious and really misses Allie.
5. What does Holden decide he must do next? Where does he first go?
He decides that he will no longer return home and simply go off and run away to the West and start a new life as a deaf-mute. He goes into a stationary shop and purchases a pad to right down a good bye not to his sister.
6. With all the bad language that Holden uses, why was he so upset that curse words were written on a school wall?
I think he is upset because these kids are starting off in the world with negative surroundings. It will turn them into mean bitter phony people.
7. How does Holden treat the two small boys in the museum?
He knows that they are cutting school, but he answers their questions and jokes and horses around with them.
8. Why is it so important to Holden that Phoebe not be mad at him? Relate this to his past, and Allie.
Allie was angry at Holden the last few days before his death. Holden was not able to fix it before Allie was brutally ripped away from him. He doesn’t want it to repeat with Phoebe, one of the last few people he really cares about that ties him to his normal life.
9. What does Holden mean when he states, “The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them”?
What Holden means by this is you have to let kids be kids. In the past, Holden tends to have a protective nature, evident throughout the novel when he is extremely friendly and caring to little kids. He has previously stated that he wants to be a catcher in the rye, protecting little kids from harm. In this instance, he now realizes that it is a futile job.
10. What is the carrousel symbolic of?
The carrousel is symbolic of youth, childhood, and innocence. When Holden declines hopping on the carrousel, he is taking his first steps to becoming an adult and facing the inner problems that he has.
1. At the conclusion, where is Holden?
Holden has just finished telling his story (to his psychoanalyst and apparently DB) at a rest home. He’s going to a new school in the fall.
2. What does Holden mean when he says, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody,”?
If you tell somebody your life story, you get to know the person. But once they leave, you don’t have them any longer. Holden is starting to value relationships with people outside of his immediate family circle. By telling this story, I think he is reluctantly beginning to appreciate the positive aspects of the people that he talked about in his story.