In "The Catcher in the Rye," what impact do Phoebe and Jane have on Holden's life?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Holden's appreciation and love of family is expressed through his relationship with Phoebe. She also represents honesty and sincerity, something Holden has a hard time finding in adults and his peers.

"She has a strong influence on her older sibling. Holden admires this "pretty little kid," raving about how smart and talented and neat she is."

"She is very literate and articulate, and she listens closely when Holden is venting his frustrations about life at school."

Jane helps Holden appreciate his childhood innocence with sweet memories of simpler times.

Jane is a symbol of Holden's idealized memory of a summer they spent together in Maine, when they held hands and played checkers.  Jane contributes to Holden's desire for the past and the lost innocence he has experienced by growing up. Holden wants Jane to remain as he remembers her, the evidence of this is:

"He is upset when he suspects Stradlater of taking sexual liberties with her. Throughout the novel, Holden keeps meaning to give her a call but never gets to it."

Jane and Phoebe are the two most important female characters in the book.  



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