Loss of Innocence Holden pesters Stradlater about Jane because he hasn’t seen her in years and represents Jane with innocence in his mind.
I walked over to the window, but you couldn’t see out of it, it was so steamy from all the heat in the can.. “I’m not in the mood right now,” I said. I wasn’t, either. You have to be in the mood for those things. “I thought she went to Shipley. I could’ve sworn she went to Shipley.” I walked around the can for a little while. I didn’t have anything else to do. “Did she enjoy the game?” I said.
Holden pesters Stradlater about Jane because he hasn’t seen her in a few years and she is his first real love.
- This ties in because Holden wants to know everything about Jane.
- This is significant because Holden is afraid of losing his innocence.
Loss of Innocence Holden fears Stradlater going on a date with Jane because Stradlater is somewhat of a womanizer. Jane is Holden’s childhood friend and first love and she brings him back to a more innocent time. Thinking about her doing things with Stradlater makes Holden sad and nervous.
I sat there for about a half hour after he left. I mean I just sat in my chair, not doing anything. I kept thinking about Jane, and about Stradlater having a date with her and all. It made me so nervous I nearly went crazy. I already told you what a sexy bastard Stradlater was.
- I think that Jane represents Holden’s childhood, and he is reluctant to give that up.
- This shows the theme because Jane represents Holden’s innocence and childhood.
- This is significant to the theme because Holden wants to hold onto his innocence.
- This ties in with the theme because it is about Holden’s brother.
- This is significant because it shows a lighter side of Holden.
Phony vs. Superficial
Holden talks about how Stradlater is really a fake, and how he is a secret slob.| You remember I said before that Ackley was a slob in his personal habits? Well, so was Stradlater, but in a different way. Stradlater was more of a secret slob. He always looked all right, Stradlater, but for instance, you should’ve seen the razor he shaved himself with. It was always rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap. He never cleaned it or anything. He always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up, but he was a secret slob anyway, if you knew him the way I did.
- Holden talks about how stradlater is a fake and is really a secret slob, as contrast to the appearance he puts forward.
- This ties in with Holden calling everything phony about Stradlater. 3) This is significant because Holden calls him a phony.
- This theme is significant to the novel because Holden reacts this way throughout most situations.
Loss of Trust in Adults
Holden is angered that Mr. Spencer would invite him over to confront him about his test and grades rather than use this time with him to say goodbye. He put my goddam paper down then and looked at me like he’d just beaten hell out of me in ping-pong or something. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for reading me that crap out loud. I wouldn’t’ve read it out loud to him if he’d written it–I really wouldn’t. In the first place, I’d only written that damn note so that he wouldn’t feel too bad about flunking me.
- I think it could represent parents and their use of their short time with their children. While most parents should spend time doing fun, memorable activities, a lot of parents just pester their children about school work.
- This relates to Catcher because over time Holden slowly loses more and more trust in adults he thought were close to him.
- This is significant because Holden is Alienated often.
Real vs. Superficial
Holden comments about how his brother is a prostitute, and is essentially whoring himself out, for being successful. | I went down in the elevator again and got a cab and told the driver to take me down to Ernie’s. Ernie’s is this night club in Greenwich Village that my brother D.B. used to go to quite frequently before he went out to Hollywood and prostituted himself. He used to take me with him once in a while.
- Holden talks about how his brother is a prostitute.
- This ties in with the theme because Holden often mistakes success for whoring one’s self out.
- This is significant to the theme because it is the loss of Holden’s innocence.
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Holden was talking earlier about how he was a pacifist and how he didn’t fight people, and then goes and punches Stradlater in the face. Stradlater kept taking these shadow punches down at my shoulder. He had his toothbrush in his hand, and he put it in his mouth. “What’d you do?” I said. “Give her the time in Ed Banky’s goddam car?” My voice was shaking something awful. “What a thing to say. Want me to wash your mouth out with soap?” “Did you?” “That’s a professional secret, buddy.” This next part I don’t remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would slit his goddamn throat open. Only, I missed. I didn’t connect| 1) I think that all the hypocrisy in the book represents people’s hypocrisy.
Fear of Loss of Innocence
Holden recounts his younger brother Allie who died several years earlier. Allie is one of the only people Holden ever really compliments and shows how much Holden loved him. The death of his kid brother was the first real hard experience in Holden’s life and took almost all of his innocence. | The thing was, I couldn’t think of a room or a house or anything to describe the way Stradlater said he had to have. I’m not too crazy about describing rooms and houses anyway. So what I did was, I wrote about my brother Allie’s baseball mitt. It was a very descriptive subject. It really was. My brother Allie had this left-handed fielder’s mitt. He was left-handed. The thing that was descriptive about it, though, was that he had poems written all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere. In green ink. He wrote them on it so that he’d have something to read when he was in the field and nobody was up at bat. He’s dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946. You’d have liked him
- I think that Allie, like Jane, represents Holden’s innocence and the death of Allie represents the loss of Holden’s innocence.
- This relates to the theme because Holden lost his innocence when his brother died.
- So we got back to Pencey around two-thirty instead of around dinnertime. The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train. It was pretty funny, in a way.
- This shows Holden making one mistake and in return being outcast from the rest of his team. Much like society and people, if you make one mistake you’re turned into an outcast. 2) This relates to the theme because Holden is Alienated from his fencing team.
- This theme is significant to the novel because it shows Holden’s being alienated.
Holden starts messing around when he is bored, like a child, because he wants to maintain his childlike demeanor.| I got bored sitting on that washbowl after a while, so I backed up a few feet and started doing this tap dance, just for the hell of it. I was just amusing myself. I can’t really tap-dance or anything, but it was a stone floor in the can, and it was good for tap-dancing. I started imitating one of those guys in the movies. In one of those musicals. I hate the movies like poison, but I get a bang imitating them. Old Stradlater watched me in the mirror while he was shaving
- Holden messes around and acts childish when he is bored because he wants to maintain his innocence.
- This ties in because Holden is being childish.
- This is significant because Holden acts childish to maintain his childlike demeanor.
- This is significant because Holden talks about how people are phony a lot.
Fear of Losing One’s Innocence
Holden talks about how he pretends to talk to his dead brother when he is sad, and how he regrets being mean to him when he was younger. What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed. I keep telling him to go home and get his bike and meet me in front of Bobby Fallon’s house. Bobby Fallon used to live quite near us in Maine–this is, years ago. Anyway, what happened was, one day Bobby and I were going over to Lake Sedebego on our bikes. We were going to take our lunches and all, and our BB guns–we were kids and all, and we thought we could shoot something with our BB guns. Anyway, Allie heard us talking about it, and he wanted to go, and I wouldn’t let him. I told him he was a child. So once in a while, now, when I get very depressed, I keep saying to him, “Okay. Go home and get your bike and meet me in front of Bobby’s house. Hurry up.” It wasn’t that I didn’t use to take him with me when I went somewhere. I did. But that one day, I didn’t. He didn’t get sore about it–he never got sore about anything– but I keep thinking about it anyway, when I get very depressed.
- This represents Holden feeling bad about being mean to his brother one time. It shows how much Holden loved his brother.
- This ties in with the theme because Holden is really sad about being kicked out of Pencey. 3) This is significant to the rest of the novel because even Holden realises his mistakes, even for a short time.
Holden asks the cab driver about where the ducks go when they are in a bad situation, which is what he would like to do.| I didn’t want to start an argument. “Okay,” I said. Then I thought of something, all of a sudden. “Hey, listen,” I said. “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?” I realized it was only one chance in a million.
- Holden is thinking about where the ducks go during winter.
- This represents Alienation because Holden wishes he could just fly away to a nice place like the ducks.
- This is significant because it shows Holden’s sad feelings.
- This is significant because Holden wishes he could maintain his Innocence.
Holden attempts to flirt with a group of older women but is shut down and made fun of. The other ugly one, Laverne, thought she was a very witty type. She kept asking me to call up my father and ask him what he was doing tonight. She kept asking me if my father had a date or not. Four times she asked me that–she was certainly witty. Old Bernice, the blonde one, didn’t say hardly anything at all. Every time I’d ask her something, she said “What?” That can get on your nerves after a while
- This shows Holden being alienated from a group of women.
- This ties in with Holden not being able to really have conversations with people.
- It is significant because Jane represents Holden’s childhood.
Dealing with Failure
Holden is saddened because his mother bought him brand new skates to use at Pencey a few days earlier and he is getting kicked out. It makes him feel sad about “getting the ax” and he thinks about his mother.| One thing about packing depressed me a little. I had to pack these brand-new ice skates my mother had practically just sent me a couple of days before. That depressed me. I could see my mother going into Spaulding’s and asking the salesman a million dopy questions–and here I was getting the ax again. It made me feel pretty sad. She bought me the wrong kind of skates–I wanted racing skates and she bought hockey–but it made me sad anyway. Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad
- Holden doesn’t like that he keeps flunking out of schools and is saddened about his mother buying him new skates and him not getting to use them.
- This theme is significant because Holden won’t grow up.
- HypocrisyHolden talks about how Stradlater is a really cool guy, and how he would lend you a tie if you needed it, when he later goes on to talk about how much a jerk Stradlater is and how he hates him. “He’s conceited, but he’s very generous in some things. He really is,” I said. “Look. Suppose, for instance, Stradlater was wearing a tie or something that you liked. Say he had a tie on that you liked a helluva lot–I’m just giving you an example, now. You know what he’d do? He’d probably take it off and give it ta you. He really would. Or–you know what he’d do? He’d leave it on your bed or something. But he’d give you the goddam tie. Most guys would probably just–“
- This shows Holden being friendly about someone one second, and then turning on them the next.
- This relates to the theme because Holden is being hypocritical.
- This theme is significant to the novel because throughout the book Holden is hypocritical.
- This is significant to the theme because Holden says he is a pacifist then goes and punches Stradlater.
- This theme is significant to the novel because throughout the whole book Holden is a giant hypocrite.
Fear of Loss of Innocence
Holden is angered that Stradl3ater is almost bragging about fooling around with Jane in the back of Ed Banky’s car. Jane was his first love and one of his closest childhood friends and the thought of her having sex with Stradlater angered Holden.| I didn’t turn it off right away, though. I just kept laying there on Ely’s bed, thinking about Jane and all. It just drove me stark staring mad when I thought about her and Stradlater parked somewhere in that fat-assed Ed Banky’s car. Every time I thought about it, I felt like jumping out the window. The thing is, you didn’t know Stradlater. I knew him. Most guys at Pencey just talked about having sexual intercourse with girls all the time–like Ackley, for instance–but old Stradlater really did it. I was personally acquainted with at least two girls he gave the time to. That’s the truth.
- Holden doesn’t like Stradlater talking about having sex with Jane because Jane represents his childhood.
- This ties in with the theme because Holden doesn’t want to think about Jane doing anything like that.
Dealing with Failure & Pressure
Holden talks about how he was kicked out for failing almost all of his subjects. He tries to tell the reader that it is a normal thing, being kicked out of Pencey Prep, while in reality, it is not. | I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out. I wasn’t supposed to come back after Christmas vacation on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all. They gave me frequent warning to start applying myself–especially around midterms, when my parents came up for a conference with old Thurmer–but I didn’t do it. So I got the ax. They give guys the ax quite frequently at Pencey. It has a very good academic rating, Pencey. It really does.
- I think this interprets how society puts a bunch of stress and pressure on people to succeed in schools or the workplace. They also use success as a main example and never really talk about when people fail.
- This relates because Holden feels because throughout the book he realizes every once in a while how he is failing, but quickly brushes it away.
Loss of Innocence
Holden remembers his sister and his other siblings talking about how great they all are.| You should see her. 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. As a matter of fact, I’m the only dumb one in the family. My brother D.B.’s a writer and all, and my brother Allie, the one that died, that I told you about, was a wizard. I’m the only really dumb one. But you ought to see old Phoebe. She has this sort of red hair, a little bit like Allie’s was, that’s very short in the summertime.
- Holden thinks about his siblings and how he misses all of them.
- This ties in with the theme because Holden wishes he could just go back to that time when it was just him and his siblings.
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