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In The Catcher in the Rye, what examples can you give of events that prepare Holden for...

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danielb77 | Valedictorian

Posted July 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM via web

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In The Catcher in the Rye, what examples can you give of events that prepare Holden for reintegrating with the world?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:37 AM (Answer #1)

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The biggest and most important example of this in the novel comes in Chapter 26 in the penultimate chapter, which is when Holden watches Phoebe on the carousel and he finds himself overwhelmed with emotion. What is vital to understand in this chapter is that Holden finally experiences the kind of human relationship he has been looking for throughout the entire novel. Prior to this moment, he has experienced characters who either just want to take from him or who are willing to give in ways that he is not willing to accept, such as Mr. Antolini. Here, however, in his relationship with Phoebe, he is able to give and receive, as symbolised in his loan of his red hunting hat and her return of it to him. Note how Holden himself describes his feelings after Phoebe has returned his hat to him and he watches her on the carousel, in spite of the rain that soaks him:

I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phobe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don't know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could've been there.

This is the only moment in the novel where Holden reaches a level of inner peace and experiences true happiness, and the extreme emotion he expresses represents how cathartic this is for him. This event is highly significant as it represents the end of the main story, as Chapter 26 is more of a retrospective conclusion to the tale told from the present. This event therefore foreshadows Holden's healing and reintegration into the world and society as a whole as he has been able to give and receive in a way that does not exploit him and gives him the connection he desires.

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