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In chapter 13 of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden refers to a fictional character in a...

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annek54 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted August 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM via web

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In chapter 13 of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden refers to a fictional character in a different book by the name of Monsieur Blanchard. Does anyone know the title of that book? 

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ophelious | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted August 30, 2012 at 5:11 PM (Answer #1)

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This is really a harder question than I first thought it was going to be, and to be honest, I can only give it my best guess.

The most likely answer is that the character comes from a story by H. Ashton-Wolfe and was anthologized in a book called "Warped in the Making: Crimes of Love and Hate."  This was back in 1927, so it was indeed available at the time of Catcher in the Rye. 

It's not a slam dunk, though.  The character of Monsieur Blanchard (who did, indeed, live in Monte Carlo as Holden mentions) appears almost entirely in the included story titled: "Orinsi, the Croupier."  I have read this story, and for the life of me I don't see any mention of women being compared to a violin.  In fact, I don't see a lot to suggest that Blanchard was the lady's man Holden things.  Blanchard is more like a security guard (I think story refers to him as a "surete") for the the casino, a dapper man who spots cheats and frauds. 

Three things might account for this:

  1. I have the wrong story in mind,
  2. Holden is confusing this story with a different one he read,
  3. Holden is confusing the story of Monsieur Blanchard with another character in another section of the anthology (I haven't read them all, so I can't tell.)

Any of these seems plausible, but I don't think I have the wrong story.  I think it is likely Holden that is confusing characters.  I am putting a link below that will lead you to the original, public domain version of the book if you'd like to check for yourself.

Best!

Sources:

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annek54 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted September 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM (Answer #2)

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Thank you. That makes it easier for me to accept that I couldn't answer the question myself :-)

 

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ophelious | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted September 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM (Answer #3)

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I am curious, though, if that's the right answer.  Holden was a clever guy but his schooling was sporadic.  It's possible he's confusing things.  The weird part is that Salinger would write it that way, with his character recalling a particular story (that character does come from the Monte Carlo story) and then having him remember it wrong (considering most readers wouldn't know the difference.)  Very clever.

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annek54 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM (Answer #4)

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As a non-native speaker I guess I miss those nuances. For all I know Holden remembers it right. That's why Google comes in handy. I guess I get about ninety percent of the story.
I reread the book and it hasn't lost anything in the last twenty years. Holden's innocence still moves me. Thanks for your answers. I’ll start in As I lay dying now.

As a non-native speaker I guess I miss those nuances. For all I know the book does exist. I guess I get about ninety percent of the story. I reread the book and it hasn't lost anything in the last twenty years. Holden's innocence still moves me. Thanks for your answers. I’ll start in As I lay dying now.

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