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