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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comin’_Thro’_the_Rye
Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print