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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what does Holden mean when he says, "When...

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evron27 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted February 7, 2013 at 5:03 AM via web

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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what does Holden mean when he says, "When something perverty like that...that kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid." Was he molested before?

This was found on page 193 and follows Holden waking up to Mr. Antolini patting his head while he slept.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM (Answer #1)

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J.D. Salinger's main character, Holden, is not the most reliable source for reality even though it is through his eyes that the story is told. Remember that Holden is writing the story from a mental hospital for a reason--he snapped! On the other hand, allegations of all things "perverty" should be considered to have some value because why would he have a name for it? In the case of Holden with Mr. Antolini, it was pretty weird that he should wake up with his former teacher touching him like that. It could have been worse, though; at least Mr. Antolini was just stroking the hair on his head, like maybe a father would, rather than touching him somewhere else. Holden may have overreacted by jumping up and running out of the apartment, but his nature seems also to be one to do that.

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evron27 | Student , Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted February 7, 2013 at 5:04 AM (Answer #2)

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Sorry the question should read "What does Holden mean by this? Was he was molested before?"

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