. Chapter 1
The narrator does not want to tell us something about himself. "[.]I don't feel like going into it" (P.1) He wants the reader to pay attention to his story, not to himself.
The narrator, whose name we still do not know, seems to be quite wealthy or rather his brother D.B.: He can afford a Jaguar.
P. 2: "D.B., being a prostitute."
To my mind, the narrator actually does not mean it literally. I think he wants to say that his brother prostitutes himself, meaning, he sells his thoughts and ideas in Hollywood, whereas he could be a great, independent author who does not need to be reliant of this huge entertainment machine.
P. 2: "They don't need do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at it at any other school."
Obliviously, the narrator does not like school, especially the school is currently attends. Maybe the mentioned advertisement shall show us that the narrator is against this conventions of turning innocent boys into young man having all the same kind of "shape".
P. 2: "this crazy cannon"
How can a cannon be crazy?!
P. 3: The Narrator describes "old" Selma Thurmer.
He is a smart and observing young man because he gives a detailed description of her. I think, I could not describe a girl as clear - one could almost draw a picture of her- as he does.
P. 4: The narrator had been "kicked out".
To my mind it is his own fault if he does not apply himself enough at school but at the other hand I think he does not really feel comfortable in this "school society" of teachers trying to "mold boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men."
P. 5: "I don't even know what I was running for- I guess I just felt like it."
At first this particular picture of a young man running without a specific reason to do so, is strange but if I think about it - and myself- I know what he talks about. Sometimes, I just feel like running, too and so I run.
. Chapter 2
P. 6: "[.] around seventy years old."
This shows how the American school system works. Teachers does not get enough pension to exist on quite properly after they quit school. Thus "Old Spencer" still has to work being more than 70 years old.
P. 8: "[.] about life being a game and all."
To my mind I think Holden is just partly right by saying that life is not a game because the word "game" is defined as something which people have to play according to the rules and people have to follow some essential rules in life to guarantee their further existence. It is also some kind of a fight, the everyday fight with your surroundings and yourself.
But Holden is perfectly right by saying life is not a game if you consider that a game is also something that you do voluntary.
All in all I must disagree with Holden, because the "game of life" in general is the same for everyone.
P. 9: "I have a lousy vocabulary."
I cannot understand why he admits that he has a - according to himself- lousy vocabulary.
But in connection with his childish behaviour I think he does not want to change anything. He loves how he acts, loves to be childish. Thus he does not necessarily need good vocabulary because children mostly do not have a good vocabulary, too.
P.9: "Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's phony. I could puke every time I hear it."
I think Holden exaggerates but in a way this word refers in context to a phony phrase. "They're grand people" is not honest; it is just a superficial testimony.
P.10: "I had sit there and listen to that crap."
Again he unconscientiously acts like a child. I think would act different in this situation: I think I would listen to Mr. Spencer but then I would tell him that it was my own responsibility and if I do not learn properly I have to life with the consequences.
P. 10: "I was beginning to sort of hate him."
Once again Holden seems to be very childish. He pretends to hate Mr. Spencer but I think it is like when parents forbid their child anything and that it hates them for about 30 seconds.
P. 13: Holden poses the famous question of where the ducks go in winter the very first time. I think Holden caring for the ducks is just a symbol for Holden caring about himself and his future. He does not know what to do after he got the message of having to leave school.
P. 13: "One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies."
I can understand Holden's feelings. If I do not feel comfortable in other people's company I do everything to be able to leave them. If I would not like the people at the BBS I would probably have left it after a very short period of time.
P. 14: After Holden is being asked by Mr. Spencer what he want to do in the future he does not really have an answer. I think this is quite sad because he knows exactly what will happen, meaning that he knows that he will get kicked out of school. I maybe would discuss my further life or I would rather ask for advise because Mr. Spencer certainly made lots of experiences in life and I would hope he had a suitable idea.
P. 15: "I'm going through a phase right now."
I think Holden knows himself quite well: He can guess that he behaves in a quite childish way but he probably does not know that he appears as a kind of rebel by doing so.
P. 15: "Good luck."
Another of this "phony", superficial phrases nobody means honestly. That is why Holden does not like this one, too.
. Chapter 3
Holden Caulfield tells us about Ossenburger, a former student at Pencey Prep. School, who became rich and contributed a lot of money to the school. He also mentions that Ossenburger once went to school and made a speech about himself and his success. In this speech the former student points out that he always prays to God and that he sees Jesus as his "buddy". Holden remains very sceptical.
. Does Holden believe in God?
. Does Ossenburger impress him with his speech of success?
. What are Holden aspirations in life?
I think Holden does not believe in God as other people do because it would be phoney if he would. He rather is a person who believes in fate because he shows this with his attitude towards life: He is not praying and hoping for miracles to come up. Just the opposite: Holden is very realistic, sometimes too realistic. He knows that one has to work hard or be a criminal to become wealthy. This is exactly what he thinks about Ossenburger, in his eyes he is a criminal who just eliminates corpses without wasting one single Christian thought to his work. Moreover Ossenburger has got this huge Cadillac which obviously has nothing to do with Christianity.
Holden does not want to be such a hypocrite just to reach quite a high standard of comfort in life. His aims are much more modest: His ambition is just about finding someone very special, someone unique with whom he can share everything, all emotions like this feelings of success and defeat and of course happiness and sadness; all in all, someone whom he can trust and who understands and loves him just the way he is.
. Holden wishes he could call the various authors of the books he reads.
To my mind this shows Holden being a very sensitive young boy and that actually not the whole world except him is phoney.
There are people he loves to listen to, people who share his feelings and emotions. I think he would like to talk to them because they are the only one who can rescue him from his mental isolation. That is exactly the reason why he reads that much.
. Page 21, top: "He was always telling me I was a goddam kid, because I was sixteen and he was eighteen."
Holden obviously does not like Robert Ackley, not at least because he is so untidy. Robert calls him a child because he sometimes acts as if he were one but actually he is not. I think he is more advanced than his contemporaries at school. He knows his weaknesses and knows how to handle them. Moreover he is very observing and tries to find out what makes people 'tick'.
Finally, he is not a child and he wants other people to notice and respect it.
. P 23, top: "At Pencey, you either froze to death or died of the heat."
This particular sentence shows that Holden never feels comfortable at Pencey. He feels ostracized by his parents, like someone who had never been loved.
He cannot escape from his current situation because he feels himself under a certain pressure because he wants to prove to his parents that he is able to be good at school to 'buy' their love but he failed. That weighs heavily on him so he feels even worse because he knows that he will also stand alone in the future.
. Chapter 4
. P. 27, middle: "The reason he fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself."
In this passage Holden describes Stradlater as somebody who is into narcissism and he illustrates this trait as a weakness but to my mind it is not necessarily wrong to show a slight love to oneself. I think you have to love yourself to be able to love another person.
Of course Stradlater narcissistic behaviour is exaggerated but it demonstrates what makes a very self-conscious person tick.
Stradlater asks Holden on page 28 if he would write a composition for him. Holden is not sure whether he should or not.
I think Ward Stradlater is presumptuously. If I were Holden I would not hesitate to refuse Stradlaters request because on one hand he is the one that will be expelled from school and at the other he does not like Stradlater.
. P 29, middle: Holden proclaims: "I'm an exhibitionist."
In fact, this declaration is not true. In my opinion, Holden is not an exhibitionist. He is some kind of a comedian who loves provokes his fellowmen with his well performed acting. In reality he just hides his tendency to focus his inner thoughts and feelings with his brilliant behaviour of a clown.
. P. 31, top: Holden gets to know that Ward has got a rendezvous with Jane Gallagher. He is exited because of the news that Jane is at Pencey.
I think Jane is a very important person in Holden's life. She connects his inconsolably residence at Pencey Prep with his early childhood. In this time they used to play together as jauntily children. Now Holden is about to mature, meaning he has got all those problems that busy teenagers.
Besides Holden seems to be very jealous of Stradlater getting together with his friend Jane because he knows that he is just interested in sex and not making Jane blissful.
. Chapter 5
. On pages 35 and 36 Holden tells us about a friend of him the first time in the whole novel. Why does he call Mal Brossard a friend of him?
I think Caulfield calls Mal Brossard a friend of him because in his presence he can act unaffectedly. Mal does not seems to be the way Holden is. He seems to be a regular teenager, meaning not a "hot-shot guy" like Stradlater is and not a "loser" like Ackley, who just lives for the moment, not like Holden constantly concerning his past and his future. This explains why Holden calls him a friend: He can just enjoy the time they spend without the emotion of being betrayed or the feeling of a certain tension with every word he says.
. P. 37, top: "People never believe you."
This sentence clearly reflects Holden's attitude towards society: He is not able to trust people at once because he always feels betrayed. As a result of this distrust he built up a wall or rather created a masquerade that protects him from the harm people could do to him if he would confide in them.
. P. 37, bottom: "I had to write a composition for Stradlater."
I cannot understand why Holden really writes this essay for Stradlater after all what happened. I would not write this essay.
P. 38, top: Holden seems to be very proud on his younger brother Allie who is dead. He describes him as very intelligent boy which sets him under a certain pressure because he thinks he is not as clever as his little brother is.
P. 38, bottom: Holden tells us about himself being psychoanalysed.
I think it is cruel to psychoanalyse a fearful, very fragile boy like Holden is after his brother died. To my mind Holden definitely needs his parents attention and love and not a psychoanalyst who maybe even sees him as a mentally ill patient and not as the hurt child he is.
. Chapter 6
P. 41: "This is about a goddam baseball glove."
Obliviously it is not just about a baseball mitt as Stradlater blames Holden. It is much more than that: Everybody, me too, has at least one very special, little thing that keeps his memories to anybody and if anybody makes fun on that thing I would probably lose my nerves.
P. 41, middle: "You don't do one damn thing the way you're supposed to."
Holden knows exactly that he does not do one single thing according to the rules and he is proud on it. He loves to provoke other people with his behaviour; besides that is why I like him.
P. 43, bottom: "I'd've killed him."
This testimony of Holden is perfectly understandable to me because Ward does not respect Holden. He does not even stop at his past with what he hurt Holden twice: He neither pays any attention to Holden's relationship to Jane nor to Allie. Behind all the coolness he appears with he forgets completely that there are people having real feelings and that they do not hesitate to show them and let them decide what to do.
P. 45, middle: "I just lay there on the floor for a while, and kept calling him a moron sonuvabitch. I was so mad, I was practically bawling."
I think Holden's acting here on one hand is a shout for attention and at the other it is let his pain run free.
P. 45, bottom: "I couldn't find my goddam hunting hat anywhere."
Again, Holden is searching for a masquerade. The hunting head seems to be able to hide his pain from other people. It is like a clown's costume: When a clown puts on his masquerade his job is to entertain people who do not care about the clown's mood.
P. 46, top: "I'm a pacifist."
TO my mind Holden is a pacifist in general but sometimes he behaves like an animal or rather like a little child who can not stop acting emotional.
. Chapter 7
P. 48: "I felt so damn lonesome."
I think that is exactly the price that Holden have to pay for his "being different by any chance". With his behaviour of imitating innocent children he automatically becomes a loner because the rest of society always wants to appear sophisticated and mature.
P. 51: " All of a sudden, I decided what I'd really do, I'd get the hell out of Pencey- right that same night and all. [.] It made me too sad and lonesome."
That is exactly what I have been expected because I would have left long before Holden even gets the idea to do. If I imagine to be at Pencey I would probably be able to arrange myself with the rest of the students we got to know within the novel so far but none of them would be a real friend to me. But that is me. Holden is much more complicated than I am. If I had Holden's character I would have left quite a long time ago because I would not even be able to come to terms with the others. So I would go to another place were I maybe could find people who share my attitude and who maybe could be able to understand my thoughts and feelings.
P. 52, top: "Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad."
I do not have the faintest idea why Holden would be sad if somebody gives him a present. I guess, he thinks he cannot show his gratitude. That is what is my biggest problem about getting presents: I always think that people think I do not like their present because I cannot express my happiness the way I would like.
. Chapter 8
P. 55, middle: "She had a terrifically nice smile. She really did. Most people have hardly any smile at all, or a lousy one."
I know that: If people smile to you they seem to be much more friendly to you and you fell closer to them. A smile expresses kindness and heartiness.
P. 56, bottom: "You take somebody's mother, all they want to hear about is what a hot-shot their son is."
That is really true. I never really thought about it but thus, I mean by telling a mother "what a hot-shot her son is", you can win her trust.
. Chapter 9
P. 59, top: "I felt like giving somebody a buzz. [.] My kid sister Phoebe."
I think Holden wants to call his little sister because he knows him best. Moreover he certainly longs for advice because currently he has really no perspective in life. So he asks Phoebe because she is a child and Holden loves the innocent and uncomplicated, "straight forward" kind of thinking children have implicated.
P. 61, middle: "I'd rather be bald than do that."
Me, too. I also would not wear a wig or something like that.
P. 61, bottom: " I saw one guy."
This scene of a man wearing a woman's dress reminds me to the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire" with Robin Williams. There are two boys at the window observing Robin Williams while he transforms into Mrs. Doubtfire and they are really shocked seeing a man wearing those clothes.
. Chapter 10
P. 67, top: "You never saw a little kid so pretty and smart in your whole life. She's really smart. I mean she's had all A's ever since she started school."
Here you can see that Holden in not just proud on Allie. He also adores and admires Phoebe. I know this feeling very well. I love my sister very much, too and I can ask her for advice but we also have arguments with each other which Holden does not mention.
P. 67, middle: "My brother Allie [.] was a wizard."
At the first place a wizard or a magician can be both, good and evil. I think Holden thinks of Alley as a good wizard. A good wizard brings luck, meaning that Allie is someone Holden just loves, somebody who he can trust and who gives him power.
. Chapter 11
P. 78, bottom: "Then all of a sudden, this tear plopped down on the checkerboard. On one of the red squares."
Jane crying must have been a very incisive experience in Holden's life because he even remembers where her tear fell to. I also know such situations in life. It is like time is standing still; moments you remember every tiny little detail for the rest of your life. There is just you and another person and you focus on that person knowing that you share a very special moment with her.
P. 79, top: "I was kissing her all over [.] expect her mouth."
After Jane's crying something has changed immediately: Holden's sorrow turns into desire. I think that he subconsciously feels like Jane's saviour or rather her protector. I guess he felt some kind of love ever since he knew her but she is an unreachable being to him. She seems to take his protecting kisses but she does not love him because he is not allowed to kiss her lips.
P. 80, top: "I do it to my kid sister Phoebe once in a while."
Holden means that he puts his hand on the back of her neck. In my opinion this is again a gesture of protection.
. Chapter 12
P. 81, top: " I always get those vomity kind of cabs if I go anywhere late at night."
That is quite funny because I know from myself and from almost all other people's "everyday- stories" that they are always get the worst possible. I think that shows that we all are not content with what we get. We lost the skill to be thankful which is very sad on one hand because it makes our world a bit colder and more unfriendly but on the other it is good, too because it keeps our world spinning: If nobody is content with his current situation is keeps in progress and thus helps the world to develop on.
P. 83, bottom: "If you was a fish, Mother Nature'd take care of you."
Holden sees himself as the ducks not knowing what will be. Now the cab driver tells him that Mother Nature would take care of him which could mean that he should not feel the way he does. She should trust destiny and let it guide him. His faith could be seen as predestined and everything would turn into good.
P. 84, middle: Holden imagines himself as a piano player.
I agree with Holden in this case because I think if you are an artist, art should be your own, very special way to express yourself, your feelings and emotions. One should not be an artist to impress his contemporaries; I think that is the job of an entertainer.
P. 85, top: "If you were only around six years old, you could get liquor at Ernie's, the place was so dark and all, and besides, nobody cared how old you were."
In connection with alcohol Holden acts like every other teenager: He makes a very big deal about it and he knows were he can get the liquor.
P. 86, bottom: "He was one of those guys that think they're being a pansy if they don't break around forty of your four fingers when they shake hands with you. God, I hate that stuff."
Of course, Holden exaggerates again but this is an everyday situation everyone knows and hates: People always break your hand when they shake it. Especially older men seem to think it is very masculine to shake hands so strong.
. Chapter 13
P. 88, top: "All of a sudden, you have to walk, no matter how far or how high up."
Sometimes you really get fed up of overcrowded elevators and things like that. I know that feeling, too. Holden thinking the way I do concerning this aspect makes him even more sympatric.
P. 88, bottom: Holden describes how he would proceed if somebody would steal his gloves.
I think I would not even be as "brave" as Holden would. I think I would just let my gloves be gloves. I think that is a great difference between Holden and the major part of society: Holden's appearance really is dominated by truth and honesty. He got an image in his mind, which illustrates a perfect society. You may ask how to define a "perfect society"?! First of all, society to me is the entirety of mankind alive. I think you have to distinguish between this "macro- society" and "meso- society" which I would classify as the completeness of men living in an economic, political and social system, meaning cultural circle. I think the faultlessness in Holden's case would be complete equality of all participating individuals. To make clear, what I mean you maybe could say Holden is for something that reflects the main thought of communism.
To my mind, Caulfield maybe is born a bit to early: I think he would fit perfectly into the late 1960ies especially in Germany or France. There he probably would have joined the students which rebelled against their political system because they were not content with their state. Those students all were pacifists, like Holden -according to himself- is and they wanted more freedom, meaning more essential rights; they wanted to be taken serious.
P. 91: Holden agrees after Maurice had been offered a whore to come up to his room.
"It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think."
I cannot understand, why Holden agrees. I Really changed my mind about him because I venerated how consequent he tried to do his own way. Now he breaks through they idealistic world in his head and is some kind of menaced by a corrupt, phony one.
Sure, he is very depressed and he needs to have a conversation with somebody. It think here it gets really paradox: Caulfield longs for an exchange of thoughts on a higher level, I would say it even could come close to a confession but in stead of going to a church and asking some priest for advise he longs for a whore's comprehension and help.
All in all, I'm a bit disappointed.
P. 92/93: "I'm a virgin." "I sort of just wanted to get it over me."
This again is, what I like about Holden. He is honest as one can be. I think no teenager his age would actually admit that he is a virgin. To my mind almost every teenager would pretend, that he is longing for his first sexual intercourse, even if it is just to collect experiences.
P. 95, bottom: Sunny, the prostitute comes from "Hollywood".
I'm sure there is one specific connection between Sunny, the whore coming from Hollywood, Holden's brother D.B. prostitution himself in Hollywood and Holden not liking movies, which are mostly made in Hollywood if they are American.
I would like to discuss this topic in class because I was not able to come up with and answer.
. Chapter 14
P.104, top: "I pictured myself coming out of the goddam bathroom, dressed and all, with my automatic in my pocket, and staggering around a little bit. [.] Then I'd throw my automatic down the elevator shaft- after I'd wiped off all the finger prints and all."
To me, it is very amusing to imagine Holden as a killer.
What seems to be just childish behaviour could be a clue to Holden's wishes: Of course Maurice needs to be punished for what he did, no question but I think you cannot put Holden's acting into a direct connection to Maurice's punishment. He certainly does not want him to be killed. He rather wants him to have a lection which teaches him to never act like he did, again.
. Chapter 15
In chapter 15 two nuns appear. They are having a chat with Holden.
I think the nuns represent the non-phony part of society. That is why Holden feels so good talking to them. He even gives them ten dollars as a contribution which is quite a lot because Sunny should have got only five ones.
Holden feels himself as a soul mate to them, because they both are rebels: They try to cure society in a pacifistic way. They just go on like missionaries who were sent out to proselytise and offer humanitarian aid.
P. 109, middle: "The thing is, it's really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs."
In my opinion this is another very good example to show up that Holden is some kind of a communist. He would die to see everyone being perfectly equal. That is also expressed through the phoniness which according to him is "the root of all equal" in his image of society. If everybody was equal in outward appearance, meaning the same clothes and of course the same suitcases, people would be forced to glance really deep into their contemporaries. Valuable would just be the character and the knowledge of a person. They would become really free individuals; Not some kind of "Guccis", "Pradas" or "Calvin Kleins" or at the other side: "C&As" or "H&Ms".
P. 111: Holden criticizes William Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet".
It think Holden criticizing "Romeo& Juliet" is very strange. It is a real tragedy that had been fascinating mankind for centuries. Now little Holden Caulfield comes up pretending dying is their own fault. This story is about a tragic love which would probably have been perfect if there had not been the medieval society of Verona.
P. 112: "I said I'd enjoyed talking to them. I'd have enjoyed it even more though, I think, if I haven't been sort of afraid, the whole time I was talking to them, that they'd all of a sudden try to find out if I was a Catholic."
To my mind nuns don not ask what religion you are. They just believe in God and try to spread his thoughts to anybody. Nuns are of course attends of church but they are not to be seen equal to the church. Church of course is an institution that lives from the donations it's "members" pay but the nuns see church and the spreading of the essential Christian thoughts as there essential sense in life. Thus Holden should not be afraid of them. He should rather be glad that he found somebody to talk to and besides the nuns found a perfect person to have a conversation with: A man who still has ideals and virtues.
P. 113, bottom: "Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell."
Money rules our world which nowadays is dominated by consume. Especially if you have none, you got to make that kind of experience.
. Chapter 16
P. 114: Holden describes his aunt doing charitable things.
I think there is a hidden message in the description of Holden's aunt. It maybe shall remind the reader that there are actually no good deeds: To me a really good deed would be something that would be done completely with personal interest. Holden's aunt is benefiting herself with those charitable things because it gives her the feeling of having done a good deed. It is almost the same as every year around Christmas: Everywhere you can see announcements that request for contributions and people really do, mostly because they have a bad conscience because they live in relatively good conditions whereas other people barely have anything to eat.
P. 115: "It wasn't as cold as it was the day before, but the sun still wasn't out, and it wasn't too nice for walking."
I guess there is a direct connection between Holden's mood and the weather, especially the temperature: If Holden's mood gets better the weather is getting more moderate, too.
P. 115: Holden is observing a poor- looking family coming from church. The child is singing: "If a body catch a body coming through the rye."
This is the first issue referring to the title of the novel. The little child singing a song certainly is heart- warming and Holden loves children because of their integrity and spontaneity. I think he himself would like to be a child again because he could just sing along on a street and nobody would care about or even call him a lunatic. He would be able to live his own life the way he wants to and he could show the people around him how he really is.
P. 116, bottom: ".old Sally, the queen of phonies"
To my mind Holden is perfectly right by saying that. Sally Hayes could have been the prototype of the first Barbie back in 1959: She is beautiful, blonde, blue- eyed and so cute but she is also made of rubber. The is not able to show any sensibility against Holden, she rather chats with a boy she barely knows about topics that are everything but worth even think about.
P. 117, top: Holden gives us a description of how he sees actors in general: He hates them because they do not act naturally.
Again this is a chiffre, an announcement to all the phonies in the world. Holden hates them because they are just actors on a huge stage and they are not even good at it.
. Chapter 17
P. 124: "I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her."
Holden obliviously grows up. To my mind it is very paradox to say that he wants to marry Sally because of her outward appearance. He just told us one chapter ago that he hates her character. He even called her "the queen of phonies". I am not used to Holden being so superficial.
P. 127: Holden describes Sally's conversation with George.
Caulfield is jealous on George. I think he wants to be as superficial as he is, in a way because he would not have any problems with his own conscience. There would only be some phrases that would not be meant seriously at all and that's it.
P. 130: "I hate living in New York."
New York actually is the city of my dreams but I could not imagine to live there. I think within two weeks I would not be able to bear the crowds of people and the noise anymore.
To my mind Holden has reached a turning point: He probably asks himself why the world will not stop spinning. He longs for a place where it turns somewhat slower, a place where he can bring some order and structure in his teenager brain.
P. 132: "We could drive up to Massachusetts and Vermont."
Well, I was right. Holden wants to escape from civilization. He searches for his own paradise. A perfect world were he could live on his own but again there is this discrepancy: He wants to leave with Sally who practically lives from all the people admiring her. She would never live all alone near any tiny little village in the woods where nobody who is not thankful for the essential, the simple things in life, would be around, like in the metropolis New York City.
P. 134: Sally leaves without excusing herself.
Sally Hayes reacts as it was to expect. She leaves and declares Holden some kind of lunatic. I think Holden should do everything to get in contact with Jane Gallagher because she could be a soul mate, somebody Holden maybe could share his life with being happy.
. Chapter 18
P. 139: Holden went to the movies where a lady and her child are sitting next to him. He describes the lady's reactions to the film and her acting when the child says that was bored.
Ito my mind Salinger brought up a very good situation to demonstrate that our society is coined by self interest.
P. 141: "I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will."
This can only be very sarcastic comment of Holden. I describes himself as a pacifist so he would never be riding an atomic bomb.
. Chapter 19
P.143: Holden calls gays or flits as perverts.
To my mind this attitude towards homosexuals is rather old-fashioned. I think you have to tolerate those people because everybody should find his own luck the way he thinks is the right one. Of course you have to consider that the novel was written in the 1950ies and that the images of moral had changes a lot throughout the last five decades.
P. 146: " I simply happen to find Eastern philosophy more satisfactory than Western."
In contrary to the boys attitude towards homosexuals this episode of their conversation seems to be quite modern. As far as I know, Tandra and comparable sexual beliefs just came up in the 1980ies in the Western civilization. I think they are talking really liberal about sexual issues for the age they live in.
P. 148: " I can never get really sexy- I mean really sexy- with a girl I don't like a lot."
I made the same experience Holden made. I cannot separate physical and spiritual things. I have to like a girl very much, too, before I can come into biological contact with her.
Holden describing his "handicap" is not right to me. I think it is very true and honest to have sex just with a girl you have also a deep psychical link to.
P. 148: Carl offers Holden to have an extensive psychoanalysis.
If somebody would tell me I should go to a psychoanalyst I would we take it as an insult. Not Holden, he really considers to visit one.
. Chapter 20
P. 152, top: ".counting these little white squares on the floor."
Funny thing! I count things to if I am bored.
P. 153, top: "I was crying [..] because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome."
You can observe Holden being slowly swallowed by his depressions: He cries what he never did before. I am very exited because I want to know if Holden will fail completely at last or if there will be a turning point that lets him catch insight.
P. 153, bottom: "I didn't even know where I was supposed to go. So what I did, I started walking over to the park. I figured I'd go by that little lake and see what the hell the ducks were doing, see if they were around or not."
I think, the little lake is some kind of an oracle and the ducks are an indicator for his own fate to Holden. The ducks are supposed to guide him, sow him what to do: If they stay, Holden will stay, too. If they had left Holden will follow soon.
P. 154: " What it was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen. But I didn't see any ducks around."
There are no ducks when Holden visits the lake. He almost immediately gets in a very bad mood that resembles to an apocalyptic atmosphere. This is expressed with Holden first thinking of Allie's funeral and all the relatives who came to say good bye to him. Afterwards Holden draws a picture in his mind of his own funeral. The only person that would really be welcome is Phoebe. I think this refers to the relationship the both siblings have: Holden loves Phoebe more than anybody else and he respects her as an equal even if she is just an eleven- years- old girl.
P. 156/ 157: "It's not too bad when the sun's out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out."
"It was just very cold and nobody around anywhere."
Here are two other proves that Holden's moods are in connection with the weather conditions.
. Chapter 21
P. 159, bottom: "I just felt good."
Holden is looking forward to see Phoebe what gives him a good feeling. My assessment is that Holden urgently needs some useful advice that maybe can even give him another direction in life which he has lost within the process of growing up.
P. 161, middle "Kid's notebooks kill me."
This again shows Holden's attitude towards children. He things that they are very creative and that the keep our world in movement or they rather keep it colored. He does not want to lose the ability to see the world through children's eyes: They keep wondering about the world every day because there is always something new and exiting to discover. Children seem to never get fed up with it.
P. 165, bottom: After Holden could not convince Sally to start up a new life with him, far away from everything they got used to and everybody they know, Holden has got another plan: He wants to work on a ranch in Colorado.
. Chapter 22
P.166, bottom: "He'll send me to that goddam military school. [.] I'll probably be in Colorado on this ranch."
This is exactly what happened to Jerome David Salinger himself: He was sent to Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania which was also the model for Pencey Preparation School.
To my mind working on a farm could be a dream or of a wish of young the J.D. Salinger.
P. 167: Holden describes why he got "the ax".
According to Holden, Pencey is full of mean people who are responsible for him not applying. Certainly one cannot sprout and grow he does not feel comfortable in his surroundings but that is no reason not to apply. To my mind Holden just has not enough motivation to apply more at school.
P. 167, bottom: " Old Phoebe didn't say anything, but she was listening. [.] She always listens when you tell her something."
That is Holden's aim since he left Pencey: To tell his sister what has happened to him and how he felt with it. She is some kind of psychoanalyst to him.
P. 169, bottom: "You don't like a million things."
I agree with Phoebe when she says that. Holden really has to consider maturely before he can come up with a proper answer but then there is another problem: everything Holden is coming up with is not real or happened in the past. He likes James Castle who died by suicide because he was somebody with ideals. He did not want to argue with some other boys so he jumped out of the window.
Moreover Holden likes Allie, his little brother, who is dead, too. Third thing he likes is to have conversations with Phoebe.
After Holden notices that he cannot convince Phoebe with what he says, he calls her a "little child" that does not even listen.
I think it is not just from Holden to devaluate Phoebe now just because she has another opinion that he has. He is not able to face reality in a way.
P. 173, middle: Holden draws a picture of himself being "The Catcher in the Rye".
That is what Holden wants to be?! This image of Holden saving children from growing up and becoming phonies reminds me to the bible. Holden adopted the function of a saviour, like Jesus was. That is, why he adores that two nuns: He sees himself in them, too.
. Chapter 24
P. 182: " How'd you do in English?"
Mr. Antolini also tries to give Holden a new perspective in life but he tries very different as Mr. Spencer tried to, before. Spencer treated Holden like a little child whom you have to tell everything what is to do. Whereas Antolini treats Caulfield as an equal, as a friend. His proceeding is much more matching to Holden because he treats him as an equal, an adult. Thus Holden really considers the mistakes he made. To my mind Mr. Antolini represents another type of "adults" in "The Catcher in the Rye": He is a non- phony adult.
P. 185: " They were always kissing a lot in public."
This again reminds me to the prude 1950ies. I think kissing in public was something not liked to be seen. Yet it is another way to express how "cool" the Antolinis are even if they are adults.
P. 187: "I don't hate to many guys."
To my mind to is just too typical for Holden, I mean not being able to develop feelings of hate against other people which I think is not good. People have to have specific persons in focus they like most and people they really do not like to ensure to keep a picture of what is wrong or right in their minds.
P. 187, bottom: " The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom."
This phrase comes up with the philosophical part of the novel: Of course the man who keeps falling does not hear himself hitting the ground but I guess nobody ever thought about. Actually it is a parabola, meaning that Holden should take Antolinis advice before he hits the ground.
This sentence reminds me of the tree falling in a forest and nobody is around to hear it hitting the ground. So would the tree have been fallen off if nobody had heard any sound?
I think this sentence can also be taken into consideration if you are discussing Holden's destiny. Nobody cares Holden failing in life so has he really failed?
P. 191, middle: "Good night, handsome."
I guess Mr. Antolini calls Holden "handsome" because he really likes him. I do not think he is gay; it is more a relationship a father have with his son or Holden's attitude towards Phoebe. The father- figure is very proud on the one who he protects and he wants simply the best for him.
P. 192, top: " What he was doing, he was 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 my goddam head."
This certainly refers to my comment on page 191. Mr. Antolini adopted a father's pleasures and duties. He is not gay, just caring.
P. 193, middle: " I never waited so long for an elevator in my whole goddam life. I swear."
We know that since Einstein. Time is relative, so everybody knows that feeling of thinking that time just flies away of that it seems to stand still. So probably every reader is waiting for the elevator and with Holden.
. Chapter 25
P. 194, middle: " It was even worse. I was more depressed than I ever was in my whole life."
Of course Holden is depressed: He believes that he had just lost the only person who still has no doubt that Holden will succeed. I would feel even worse if there would be nobody that believes in me anymore. It would be depressing, sure, it would but I think if you are really willing to reach the top you can do it all by yourself if you possess the required power which most people does not have.
P. 194, bottom: "I mean I wondered if just maybe I was wrong about thinking he was making a flitty pass at me."
No I would like to have a conversation with Holden. I would tell him that he was as wrong as one can be and that he should not always distrust everybody. Because the world is not as mean as he thinks otherwise he could commit suicide at once.
P. 196, top: " So I figured I was getting cancer."
I slowly think Holden has just got a nervous break-down. He fantasizes.
P. 198: Holden never wants to go back to school or home again. His plan is to go West.
He talks to Allie.
Holden I completely finished. I think he should immediately go home to tell his parents what had happened. They will catch insight, I am sure.
Holden just can't bear the pressure lying upon him and that "kills" him and escape had never been a good way to solute problems; it just puts them anywhere else.
P. 199: "I wanted to get married or something, I'd meet this beautiful girl that was also a deaf-mute and we'd get married."
Caulfield is hot from desire. He knows the only way to come out of the whole is somebody with whom he can share his life with. Somebody who he can perfectly trust and who is there for him whenever he needs help.
P. 201, middle: "Fuck you."
When Holden reads the "Fuck you"-writings on the wall suddenly feels like the protector of all children again. He sort of got his direction in life back.
P. 204, middle: "If I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all [.] it will say "Fuck you"."
If you think of the "Fuck you"- sings giving Holden a new perspective, another start to be willing to struggle on it is not too unusually to write it on a tombstone.
P. 207, top: "that made her cry even harder. I was glad. All of a sudden I wanted her to cry till her eyes practically dropped out. I almost hated her."
I think Holden should be rather thankful because Phoebe crossed his plans. He should catch insight right that moment and he should thank her. He would have been died in isolation.
P. 207, middle: "I go nowhere. I changed my mind."
This is probably the best decision Holden ever took and a real turning point. Holden will be getting clear and he will make his own way, I am sure.
P. 210, middle: "I'm too big."
It is the carrousel scene. Holden tries to take back the old times of innocence back for the last time. This is where he learns and gets a piece of wisdom: You cannot turn back time so you have to enjoy every moment because it is unique by any chance.
. Chapter 26
Holden is in a hospital for mentally ill. In this place he is allowed to collect all his thoughts and bring a new order into his life. I think he cannot wait until his new, "normal" life starts.
. Final appreciation of "The Catcher in the Rye"
"The Catcher in the Rye" probably is the best novel I ever read at school.
It is the story of a young man who tells the reader about his fall and rise. Thus "The Catcher" could be compared to the bible: Everyone necessarily has some part of Holden in it and in his story he can recognize himself. So the novel can be seen as some kind of instruction for life that gives advice and that spends consolation.
The novel also gains deep into psychology which enables the reader to compare Holden's "symptoms" with himself.
All I have to add by now is that I will recommend this book to everyone who wants to read something really good.