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How would you describe Holden's behavior towards Mrs. Morrow?

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georgiiooo132 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted September 10, 2012 at 9:17 PM via web

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How would you describe Holden's behavior towards Mrs. Morrow?

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dstuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 11, 2012 at 1:10 AM (Answer #1)

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Holden's behavior with Mrs Morrow is typical of Holden, if you need a quick word to describe it.  He does three things he often does.

First, he escapes responsibility and an awkward situation by lying.  He tells Mrs Morrow he is someone else, using the janitor's name instead of his own.  He just doesn't feel like answering questions about what happened to him at Pencey.

Second, Holden creates.  Holden is bored.  Sometimes he plays mind games, but in this case he tells stories to Mrs Morrow.  He is articulate and creative, and he uses his creativity to fight boredom.

Third, and most important, and what the novel is really about, Holden helps Mrs. Morrow.  He puts her mind at ease and reassures her that her son is well-liked and is getting along well at school.  Her son is no longer innocent, nor is his situation.  No one at Pencey lives in innocence.  But Holden, in effect, tells Mrs. Morrow that her son is. 

Retaining innocence is what Holden is about.  And for at least a little while, he helps Mrs. Morrow do just that. 

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