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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what are two ironies Holden is aware of in...

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dessy18 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM via web

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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what are two ironies Holden is aware of in chapter 12?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM (Answer #1)

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Irony is when the unexpected happens and Holden is conscious of of two events where irony occurs. It is interesting, though, too, that in chapter twelve other ironies are happening around Holden that he doesn't observe. First, the two events that he does notice are how weird it is that Horowitz the cabby would be so ornery every time he answers a question. Holden asks a simple question about ducks and the cabby seems completely annoyed, but then turns around and tells Holden that mother nature takes care of her own. Surely he didn't expect to learn anything or hear something wise come out of a grumpy cab driver. Second, he finds it uncouth for a guy at the bar to be groping a girl under the table while talking about someone's suicide at the same time--that's not exactly romantic. Plus, Holden marvels that good looking people seem to have unintelligent conversations. Holden doesn't count on the fact, though that as he is out on the town looking for companionship to avoid his loneliness, all he seems to get is disappointment, and that is ironic, too. "People are always ruining things for you"(87) he says at the end of the chapter. Maybe he's discovering that nothing is ever as it seems to be, which is a great discovery of irony, too.

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