The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24

The yay/nay/gray thoughts of the day:


Mr. Antolini is Holden’s old English teacher. He has some great lines.

He says, “This fall I think you’re riding for – it’s a special kind of all, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave I t up before they ever really even got started” (187).

This description of F A L L I N G seems to fit Holden to a T!


Holden gets up in the middle of the night suddenly and leaves. See next section…


When Holden falls asleep, he wakes up to his teacher “sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of petting me or patting me on the goddam head” (192). Holden says, “I know more damn perverts, at school and all, than anybody you ever met. And they’re always being pervert when I’m around” (192).

Was Mr. Antolini making a homosexual move on Holden?

It’s hard to tell.

In the next chapter, Holden admits, “But what did worry me was that part about how I’d woke up and found him patting me on the head and all. I mean I wondered if just maybe I was wrong about thinking he was making a flitty [homosexual] pass at me” (194-5).

This is not a great situation. It’s hard to tell with Holden. Maybe Holden was just overacting, but maybe his teacher was being inappropriate and attempting sexual relationships with a student.

But what Holden says is most disturbing. It appears that perhaps Holden has experienced sexual abuse sometime in his past. Perhaps from other students or maybe a teacher “

More (silly) Questions:

Mr. Antolini writes down this quote for Holden: “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” (188).

Wilhelm Stekel, a physician and psychologist, said this, and he was an early follower of Sigmund Freud.

Why does Mr. Antolini choose this quote? Why does he write it down? Personally, it seems that Holden doesn’t fall under the immature man or the mature man – Holden is like a hanging, “I-don’t-know-what” category of a man. Of course, Holden isn’t exactly a man yet. He is still a teenager.

Also, does Holden have a cause yet?

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 22-23

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 22-23

Here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of the day:


Although it’s kinda creepy that Holden sits in his sister’s room watching her sleeping, Holden seems to connect with Phoebe, who enables him to open up more. Holden describes Phoebe like a school teacher (167), and Phoebe tells him not to swear so much (168) and says that Holden doesn’t like anything (169). Holden explains that he likes Allie.

Holden says, “I know he’s dead. Don’t you think I know that? I can still like him, though, can’t I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake – especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all” (171).


At the close of chapter 23, while Holden was sneaking out with his parents still in, Holden explains, “For one thing, I didn’t give much of a damn any more if they caught me. I really didn’t. If figured if they caught me, they caught me. I almost wished they did, in a way” (180).

Most of this book is such a push and pull. The reader seems to make some progress into understanding Holden when he will open up and share something. Then he says things like this. He doesn’t care if he gets caught. But he really does want to get caught. Most of the book doesn’t feel like progress at all, though.


In chapter 22, we learn when Holden was showering one time at school, a boy named James Castle committed suicide by jumping out the window: “I was in the shower and all, and even I could hear him land outside. But I just thought something fell out the window, a radio or a desk or something, not a boy or anything” (170). Holden describes the gruesome scene and how the James was wearing Holden’s turtle neck sweater that he had lent to him previously.

Holden explains, “The funny part is, I hardly even know James Castle, if you want to know the truth. He was one of these very quiet guys” (171).

This moment in the book is terribly sad and gruesome. However, it is poignant, as well, by giving the reader a deeper connection with Holden’s inner psychology.

More (silly) Questions:

What is a Yogi guy (175) that Holden mentions in chapter 23?

In “A Reader’s Companion to J. D. Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye” by Peter G. Beidler, it explains that “A Yogi is a person who practices Yoga, a method of breathing, movement, and meditation” (188).

We learn that Robert Burns wrote the poem “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” (173). Here is some interesting information about this poem:’_Thro’_the_Rye

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 16 – 21

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 16 – 21

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope that the holiday season is as happy as ever.

In contrast to your bright holiday cheer, here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of today…


While walking around New York City, Holden comes across a poor family that had a 6-year-old boy in chapter 16: “The kid was swell… He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. I got up closer so I could hear what he was singing. He was singing that song, ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye.’ He had a pretty little voice, too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you could tell” (115).

Even though cars are zooming by, the parents don’t pay too much attention on their child, who continues to sing his little heart out. Holden thinks, “It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more” (115).

I don’t know for sure why this gets Holden out of the depressed-dug-in-hole he has made for himself. But maybe he recognizes childhood innocence. Perhaps he likes the idea that the parents are close by to step in if need be, but the child is able to have a sense of freedom and liberation. Maybe Holden sees a little of himself in the kid. Perhaps Holden connects with the song (*hint*: the title seems to be somehow connected with this song…).

Or maybe Holden is merely having a bi-polar mood swing, but it could be something more than just that.


The beginning of chapter 17 is just so sad. While waiting for his date with Sally, Holden is sitting around, chilling, and watching the other girls waiting for their dates to show up. Holden explains, “In a way, it was sort of depressing, too, because you kept wondering what the hell would happen to all of them. When they got out of school and college, I mean. You figured most of them would probably marry dopey guys” (123).

Some of the crimes these dopey guys would commit included talking about their cars, being childish or sore, playing stupid games, and being mean. Holden also criticized “Guys that never read books. Guys that are very boring” (123).

First, the girls Holden are watching don’t necessarily have to marry. They could get careers or travel or do countless other things than just marrying “dopey guys.”

Second, it seems like Holden is kinda jumping the gun.

Third, are there really not that many great guys out in the world?

Fourth, I find it interesting that Holden thinks “Not-Reading” and right after that “Very-Boring” are both considered negative characteristics to have in a potential husband.

Fifth, although Holden does read, he does seem to act childish and/or sore for most of this entire novel, and he can be quite mean. Holden doesn’t even appear to be living up to the standard he sets. Holden, by his own definition, is a “dopey guy.”

(Sorry… I seem to be just numbering random thoughts that jump into my brain after reading this page.)


In chapter 21, Holden F-I -N-A-L-L-Y goes home!!! But this isn’t the best reunion ever.

His parents are off at some party, but Holden doesn’t really want to see them. He sits and watches his sister, Phoebe, sleep for a little while, which seems creepy, and then wakes her up to talk with her.

Phoebe seems genuinely excited and thrilled to see her older brother. Holden gives her the record he worked so hard to find but then broke into pieces when he dropped in on the ground after getting super drunk, but Phoebe loves the thought anyways: “She took them right out of my hand and then she put them in the drawer of the night table. She kills me” (164).

But Phoebe knows that something is up. She keeps asking him why he is home early. She knows that he was kicked out of another school. She puts a pillow over her head, and “She wouldn’t come out, though. You can’t even reason with her sometimes” (166). Holden already has enough communication problems with his parents and other brother. It’s too bad that the one sibling that seems to get along with him now refuses to look or talk to him.

This scene has so many mixed emotions. I hope that Holden can work out his problems with his family and actually talk with them.

Some More {silly} Questions:

Why is Holden so obsessed with talking to Luce in Chapter 19? Is Holden just lonely? Holden claims that Luce liked to talk about sex a lot, but when Holden kept bringing it up with Luce while having a drink with the guy, Luce did not seem interested and says things like, “Same old Caulfield. When are you going to grow up?” (144) and attempts to change the subject. Holden seems to think that Luce has had some homosexual relationships and seems fixated on that subject.

I’d forgotten to include the MLA Citation for the last few posts, but it was listed on the bottom of my first post about The Catcher in the Rye.  🙂

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

*P.S.: I can’t figure out how to work italics on here. Sorry!

** P. S. S.: I do NOT own this photo. I give my thanks to Google images. 😉

I do like the shorts, though.  Or maybe the skirt. Don’t really know…  🙂

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 10 – 15

Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 10 – 15

Here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of the day for the next segment of Catcher in the Rye:


In Chapter 11, Holden reveals some of his past history with Jane. He says, “You don’t always have to get too sexy to get to know a girl” (76). He reveals an intimacy with Jane that isn’t sexual. Jane listens to his story about Allie, and they play checkers on her porch, and Holden asks about the creepy step-dad. Holden explains his feelings about Jane: “My mother didn’t think Jane was pretty, even. I did, though. I just liked the way she looked, that’s all” (78). It’s sweet and intense. It feels honest, and I haven’t seen that much from from Holden in the book so far.

Spoiler alert: Holden doesn’t sleep with the prostitute: “It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn’t even think. That’s the whole trouble when you’re feeling depressed you can’t even think” (91). Holden confesses to being a virgin (92). When he is sitting on the bed and asks just to talk, it’s so sad and almost pathetic. He wants to know why she is a prostitute or what her work schedule is like. He really wants someone to be intimate with, but doesn’t seem to know how. Also, when he says he felt like jumping out the window to commit suicide, he doesn’t because he wouldn’t want people walking past to see all the gore. This showed a deeper maturity that I didn’t expect Holden to have. Here he showed that he could think about someone other than himself – whether that be a very young prostitute or a mere stranger walking down the street.


In chapter 15, Holden goes on and on about suitcases, which seem to be a status symbol for him. Holden roomed with a boy named Dick Slagle that had inexpensive suitcases, but after two months, they asked to move. Holden explains, “You think if they’re intelligent and all, the other person, and have a good sense of humor, that they don’t’ give a damn whose suitcases are better, but they do. They really do. It’s one of the reasons why I roomed with a stupid bastard like Stradlater. At least his suitcases were as good as mine” (109). This section was sad and petty to me. Something that would seem so insignificant – suitcases, for crying out loud – became a source of contention for two friends, ultimately tearing their friendship apart. They could have remained friends, but because one was had nicer junk than the other, their friendship basically fell apart.


Holden can be sweet and sincere sometimes, such as when he talks about Jane. Yet sometimes he says things like, “Real ugly girls have it tough” (85). How thought provoking… * sarcasm *

Sometimes he seems totally indifferent, and sometimes he is nice, and sometimes he is a jerk. Human nature? Or just teenage nature?

More {silly} Questions:

Supposedly, Holden’s dad wants his son to go to Oxford (29). Yet Holden states later on, “All those Ivy League bastards look alike. My father wants me to go to Yale, or maybe Princeton, but I swear, I wouldn’t go to one of those Ivy League colleges, if I was dying, for God’s sake” (85). Does Holden just not pay attention to what his dad says because those are three very different schools or is the point more about Holden not wanting to go to an Ivy school because he thinks the rich students are all pretentious? Or a little of both?

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 4 – 9

Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 4 - 9

The mini-book club, including myself and my dear, dear friend, has grown by one!

Now *that* is progress.

Here’s our newest member.

Her name is Ally. Short for Ally Cat.

Guess what? Cats L-O-V-E Cather in the Rye. {Ally loves the tasty aesthetics of it, you could say…}

Here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of today:


I genuinely think that Holden likes writing. If he didn’t, then he would never get in the “mood” he’s always talking about to get around to writing up the composition for Stradlater.

I do not support or condone cheating. It is morally wrong. But I liked seeing this development for Holden. It made me connect with Holden when he wrote about “Old Allie’s baseball mitt” (39). Holden could, obviously, be lying. But there really did seem to be something genuine when Holden explains his reactions to Allie dying of leukemia.

He says that his parents “were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything that time, and I couldn’t do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I’ll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie. My hand still hurts me once in a while, wen it rains and all, and I can’t make a real fist any more – not a tight one, I mean – but outside of that I don’t care much. I mean I’m not going to be a goddam surgeon or violinist or anything anyway” (38-39).

This is a very, very long sentence.

But it’s this scene that makes me want to keep reading.


When Holden decides to leave the school in the middle of the night and screams down the hallway to wake everyone up, I found more classic comments in the margin: “inhumane” and “pettiness.”

Yeah. I could see pettiness there for sure.

So chapters 1 – 7 focus on Holden in school.

The beginning of chapter eight appears to mark the beginning of Holden going out on his own.

In chapter eight, Holden starts talking to Mrs. Morrow, who is the mother of Ernie (a kid Holden doesn’t like from school, but Holden doesn’t seem to really like anyone – except Jane and Selma), on the train after he leaves the school. Holdens says, “Just stop lying. Once I get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it. No kidding. Hours” (58).

Even though Holden says that he thought Mrs. Morrow was a nice lady, why does he keep lying?

And at the end of chapter nine, he calls Miss Faith Cavendish, some supposedly easy lady that some Princeton guy at a party Holden went to mentioned. But he wouldn’t even go say hello to Jane in the Annex.

Come on, Holden.


Stradlater, Holden’s roomie, says “budyroo” (28). Was that just 1950s slang? Can that come back? Please, please, please? (I’m just kidding…)

This goes right along with “sonuvabitch” (39) that everyone keeps saying like 50x in every chapter. I understand that they are teenagers. But really? Couldn’t they expand their vocabulary just a teensy bit? Couldn’t they find a better way of expressing themselves?

No? Okay.

Doesn’t surprise me.

More {silly} Questions:

Is Holden actually the governor’s son? And tap dancing? Does Holden’s dad really want Holden to go to Oxford? (page 29)

I can’t believe anything Holden says. He enjoys and thoroughly finds pleasure in lying. Holden – you’re the worst. Sorry, but right now, it’s true.

Will our mysterious Jane Gallagher (not Jane Doe… oh, I do want to write that though… she is a mystery after all) turn up later in the book? Will we ever meet her?

–> Please comment below! I love to hear your response!

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 1-3

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 1-3

I started reading The Catcher in the Rye. I’m in a mini-book club, and when I say mini, it’s super duper mini. There is me and then one other person, who is a really close friend of mine.

The book has been interesting thus far… to say the least.

Here are a few thoughts…


The narrator, whose name is apparently Holden Caulfield, does have a sense of humor. He’s sarcastic, for sure. But he is also funny. I think that is what keeps me turning pages.

For example, he writes a note to his professor on his exam: “That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can’t seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is all right with me if you flunk me though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway” (12). The narrator’s tone has been so lax and even crass that this formally written letter to the professor with “dear” at the beginning and “respectfully yours” when signing off is hilarious as well as unexpected.

Also, the narrator, who has failed four other classes, at least didn’t fail English – my favorite subject! 😀 Good job, angsty 1950s teen! He claims that he didn’t fail English because he’d read Beowulf and other books from a previous class before. Although that might be true, I have a feeling inside (and I could TOTALLY be wrong, I’ll admit) that perhaps this teen might have a deeper connection to the written word than he is letting on.

For example, he says, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it” (18). I love this quote. Thumbs up, Salinger! ☺


The narrator is reallllllllllllllly irritating. I don’t understand all this angst. Why is he so annoying? Why does he have no drive? Why does he lie so much?

“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful” (16). That’s not a great quality, Holden.

I’m reading my dad’s copy of the book. It has great side comments about the narrator that make me laugh, such as “neurotic,” “schizophrenia,” “unstable,” “not tactful,” and “egotist.”

All these terms seem to apply pretty well. Here’s to hoping that he’s a dynamic character.

Also, I get the feeling that this is a book where nothing really happens.

But for some reason, I keep reading. I want to know what happens. So I guess that’s a good thing.


The narrator seems to have a lot of tension with older people. He is critical of the professor, who has a bumpy chest, and his wife, who is deaf. Although it’s uncomfortable to read how hateful he is towards others, it is also compelling. I want to know why he is so disgruntled about everyone around him.

There also seems to be quite a bit of tension between he and his brother: “I mean that’s all I told D. B. about, and he’s my brother and all… He’s got a lot of dough, now. He didn’t use to” (1). Why is there so much anger towards this older brother?

More {silly?} Questions:

The narrator says, “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot” (18).

What does he mean by that? Is he saying that although he reads, he feels that he is illiterate or doesn’t understand what he is reading? Or does he just not feel very smart? Is THAT the reason why he is slacking in school?

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

*NOTE: I can’t figure out how to work italics on here. Sorry!