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In Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, where does Holden envision his brother...

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shadymccoy25 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:26 PM via web

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In Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, where does Holden envision his brother Allie to be now? Also, how does Holden view cemeteries?

 

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted June 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM (Answer #1)

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Salinger's main character, Holden Caulfield, is an atheist so he doesn't necessarily believe that his brother Allie is in heaven as many of his Christian friends and schoolmates may believe. Although he doesn't define what he believes or where he specifically thinks his brother is after his death, Holden does cling to Allie's memory. Near the end of the book, in chapter 25, Holden suffers his mental breakdown and envisions himself talking to Allie in a way that one might pray to God for help. It is interesting that at Holden's most desperate moment he appeals to Allie rather than God.

"Every time I'd get to the end of the block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, 'Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie.' And then when I'd reach the side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank him"(198).

As far as cemeteries are concerned, Holden never says that Allie was buried in one, but later, when he is upset for finding the F-word written on Phoebe's school, he makes the comment that "You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. . . I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have at tombstone and all, . . . it'll say 'F*** you.' I'm positive, in fact"(204). This shows Holden's negative view about life and death and that there is no escape from what he suffers.

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