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English 11

The Catcher in the Rye

Why does the book begin with the words, "If you want to know the truth...?" Holden's preparing to tell everyone about his theories, which he believes are correct.
What is the meaning of the reference to David Copperfield? He is not going to give phoney lies about himself. Instead, he will be honest.
Why is D.B. mentioned here are the beginning? He believes that D.B. is a sellout and a phoney, the exact opposite of what Holden wants to be.
What is important in the school motto at Pencey? They make themselves seem much better than they truly are, since they're no better than any others.
What has holden "forgotten" to mention his dismissal from Pencey? He does not want his parents worrying about him or getting mad.
What does Holden mean when he says that Pencey is full of "crooks"? He means that it is full of phoneys and mean guys.
What is significant in Holden's remark about Mrs. Spencer opening the door herself? They're humble, not phoney, and do things for themselves rather than hiring people for it.
What is the importance of Holden's confrontation with Mr. Spencer? He tells Holden the truth about him, he gets upset and doesn't want to hear it.
What is the significance of Spencer's question about Holden's telling his parents? It shows the beginning of Holden's lies and secrecy.
Why is the ambiguity of Holden's age stressed? He tries to act much more mature than he actually is.
What is important about Holden's exam paper? He had no idea what he was writing, showing his lack of effort towards his schooling.
Why does Holden say he is just going through a "phase"? To get Mr. Spencer off of his case and to convince him that everything will be okay.
Why does Holden characterize himself as a liar? He enjoys lying and can go on for hours.
What is the significance of the deflation of Ossenburger? He discovers how phoney he truly is.
What is the importance of Holden's new hat? He feels unique and adventurous in it, giving him some confidence and individuality.
Why does Holden yearn to talk to certain authors? He wants to find out continuations to their stories.
What is signified when Holden misplaces the foils? He didn't care enough about it, and he is unorganized.
What is Holden's attitude toward Ackley? He thinks he's annoying and dirty, but still spends time with him.
How is Stradlater characterized? Handsome, well built, organized, ladies man, secret slob.
What is the significance of Stradlater's borrowing Holden's jacket? Holden is nice enough to let him borrow it, even though he knows that Stradlater will probably stretch it out.
What is the importance of Holden's message to Jane? He still cared about her, even though he had not seen her in a while.
What are Holden's doubts about the message? That she will not remember him or will not care.
Why does Holden enjoy the snowball fight? It reminds him of his youth and of being a care free child.
What is the importance of his composition about Allie? He misses him, still thinks about him a lot, and remembers him very well.
What is the significance of Holden breaking his hand? The beginning of Holden's downhill path, started with his depression about Allie's death.
What are Holden's fears about Jane and Stradlater? That Stradlater is going to take advantage of Jane.
Why does Holden fight Stradlater? Stradlater did not want to discuss his date with Jane.
What is Holden's first action after the fight? He goes to Ackley's room.
Why does Holden consider going into a monastery? Monks are honest and pure– not phoneys.
Why is Holden so lonely at Pencey? He has no true friends, and everyone is a phoney.
What emotions do the new skates create? Frustration, anger, guilt.
In what condition does Holden leave Pencey? He is sad but relieved. He has a bloody nose.
Why does Holden give a false name to Mrs. Morrow? He does not feel like telling her who he actually is and wants to mess with her.
Why does he lie about Ernest Morrow? To make Mrs. Morrow feel better about her son.
What is the significance of the brain surgery story? The dramatization of Holden's lies.
What is Holden's first act upon arriving in New York? He takes a cab and checks in at a hotel.
What is signified by the ducks in the lagoon? Holden's fear of change.
Why does Holden give such detailed descriptions of the hotel rooms seen from his own window? He does not have much else to do. He was probably watching them for a while, as they are his only source of entertainment.
What is Holden's attitude towards sex? He doesn't understand it.
Why does Salinger use the name Faith Cavendish? The name gives the idea of purity, something that Faith is not.
Why does Salinger introduce Phoebe here? Holden felt lonely and thought of how much he enjoyed her company.
What is significant in Holden's appraisal of the girls from Seattle? He does not take a liking to them and calls them pathetic, showing how quick he is to judge people.
Why does his mind now revert to Jane? He likes her a lot and she is innocent, not phoney like most.
Why does Holden think of the ducks again? It shows how important the topic is to him, how scared of change her really is.
What is implied in Holden's criticism of Ernie? He thinks he is a phoney and a sellout, similar to D.B.
Why does Holden scorn the "Ivy League" boys he sees? He also sees them as phoneys. Fake, materialistic, shallow, and only concerned about themselves.
What compromise does Holden make? He leaves his long awaited seat at Ernie's to avoid talking to Lillian Simmons.
Why does Holden accept the assignation with Sunny? He thinks he's brave enough to take his first big step in to adulthood.
Why is he unable to consummate any physical act with Sunny? He is afraid of losing his innocence and of "using" her.
What is Holden's mental state after Sunny's departure? Depressed and suicidal.
What is the real outcome of his fight with Maurice? He loses his money and gets beat up.
What is suggested by Holden's fantasy of "plugging" Maurice? That Holden lives in a somewhat fantasized world up in his head.
What progression is followed in terms of female relationships? The only real love he receives is from Phoebe– familiar love. All his other relationships are shallow and short-term.
What is Holden's attitude toward the nuns? He admires and respects their purity, honestly and dedication.
What is significant in the reference to Mercutio? Holden is very similar to him– very smart and funny.
What is the import of the monologue about Catholicism? He doesn't believe in religion and makes fun of it.
Why does Holden describe the child on the street as "swell"? He is innocent and pure, walking and singing, obviously not phoney in Holden's eyes.
What does the reference to Hamlet reveal? Holden likes it, but disagrees with the chosen casting.
What is the basis of the museum's appeal to Holden? Things generally do not change in it.
What is the point of the remembrances of Harris Macklin? Nostalgia, thinking back to a simpler time.
What contradiction exists in his attitude toward Sally? He tells her he loves her, considers marrying her, and obviously lusts after her, but calls her a "pain in the ass".
What is implied by the remembrances of Jane at this point? Jane's stepfather may have abused her.
Why is the Radio City program juxtaposed with Carl Luce? He has a sandwich and malted milk and thinks about calling Jane, while later on he goes out for a drink with Carl Luce.
What is meant by D.B.'s query about Rupert Brooke and Emily Dickinson? Different authors write differently due to different experiences.
What is implied in the reference to Gatsby? Gatsby was destroyed by a world whose material Holden scorns.
What is the significance of Luce? He foreshadows the situation with Mr. Antolini.
What contacts does Holden attempt at the beginning of the chapter? Jane.
Why does Holden muse upon his own death? He has a dark view of the world, and he just recently lost his brother.
What is the first impression given of Phoebe? She is very smart and mature for her age.
How are the elder Caulfields depicted? Their mother is nervous and depressed, while their father cares more about his job than about his family.
What is significant in the movie Phoebe saw? The doctor killed the baby to keep it from a life of pain. He preformed an "act of God". Holden realizes that he should not risk messing with situations like those.
How does Phoebe punish Holden? She hits him.
What conclusion does Phoebe draw from Holden's criticism of Pencey? That he hates everything in general and is using Pencey as a cover for it.
What is Holden's answer? He didn't like the school or the people there. The only people he likes are Phoebe (and their conversations) and Allie.
Why does Holden give Phoebe his hunting cap? For her to keep with her as a memory of him.
What is the import of Mr. Antolini's advice? Holden needs to get his life together before it completely falls apart.
What is the significance of Antolini's caress? Holden thinks it is a homosexual advance towards him, while it was probably Antolini feeling bad for him and showing him some simple affection.
What is Holden's condition at this point? He is very sick, both physically and mentally.
Why does he write Phoebe? To meet with her to say goodbye.
What prompts Holden's reactions to the foul words? He does not want the innocent children to see/be ruined by them.
How does Phoebe identify with Holden? She wants to run off with him.
Why does Holden refuse to take Phoebe along? He doesn't actually plan to leave.
What new knowledge does Holden gain watching Phoebe on the carousel? That he must let her grow up and simply be there to support her, rather than being the catcher in the rye.
What is Holden's final ironic comment? He is embarrassed for telling everybody what he initially wanted to.
Who is Holden Caulfield? The protagonist. If you've read the book you know more of who he is.
Who is Ackley? Holden's neighbour @ Pencey.
Who is Stradlater? Holden's roommate @ Pencey -handsome -popular -self satisfied -secret slob
Who is Jane Gallagher? Girl who Holden likes, respects, & finds attractive.
Who is Phoebe Caulfield? Holden's 10 year old sister.
Who is Allie Caulfield? Holden's younger brother, who died of leukemia.
Who is D.B. Caulfield? Holden's older brother. -phony -author -lives in Hollywood -sellout
Who is Sally Hayes? Holden's ex girlfriend. -"pain in the ass"
Who is Mr. Spencer? Holden's history teacher @ Pencey.
Who is Carl Luce? Holden's student advisor @ Whooton.
Who is Mr. Antolini? Holden's English teacher @ Elkton.
Who is Maurice? Elevator man/pimp.
Who is Sunny? Prostitute.
Created by: rosedobrovinska
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