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Give specific quotes from the Catcher in the Rye of how Holden overcomes his alienation...

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danielb77 | Valedictorian

Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:02 AM via web

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Give specific quotes from the Catcher in the Rye of how Holden overcomes his alienation only with Phoebe. 

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 7, 2013 at 5:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Holden views his sister as genuine and honest, not a "phony" like almost everyone else. When he arrives back in New York, one of his first thoughts is that he would like to call and speak with her. In fact, before he goes down to the lounge in his hotel, he says that he nearly gave her a "buzz," and then, in a tone he does not adopt anywhere else in the novel, he sings her praises:

You should see her. You never saw a little kid so pretty and smart in your whole life...I mean she's had all A's ever since she started school...You'd like her. I mean if you tell old Phoebe something, she knows exactly what the hell you're talking about.

It seems that Phoebe is one of the few people with whom Holden has a positive emotional connection. He looks for a record store on Broadway to buy her a record he thinks she will like (which he proceeds to break accidentally while drunk), goes to the park in the hopes that she will be there, and then sneaks into his house to see her (trying to avoid his parents.) Phoebe proves to be as perceptive as he describes her, as she figures out that he has been kicked out of school. In one of the more touching scenes in the book, the normally jaded and cynical Holden dances with his sister in her room, remembering that he taught her to dance when she was a "tiny little kid." Holden's relationship with his sister is different from any other in the book, and in the next to last chapter, he is as happy as he is at any other point as he sits in the rain watching her ride a carrousel:

I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around...I don't know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around...

Source: J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (New York: Bantam Books, 1965).

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