Other Lesson Plans
conscientious: careful, meticulous
dope: slang an unintelligent person
doubtless: without any doubt, with certainty
in the sack: slang in bed
mixer: old-fashioned word for party or dance
modest: humble; moderate
nominate: to propose for election
trance: a hypnotic, semi-conscious, unresponsive state
unanimous: all in agreement
1. Describe the woman Holden meets on the train.
The woman is forty to forty-five years old and wearing orchids as if she has just come from a party. Holden describes her as being very good looking with a nice voice. He soon learns that her son is a student at Pencey Prep.
2. What lie does Holden tell Mrs. Morrow about her son?
Holden doesn’t like Ernie, the woman’s son. Holden describes him as “the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey.” However, he tells her that he and his friends tried to nominate Ernie for class president, but he refused to let them do it because he was too shy.
3. Why might Holden have lied to make Mrs. Morrow think more fondly of her son?
He wants to create intimacy and admiration where there isn’t any, even if it’s fictitious. He likes her and seems to like the idea of her thinking her son’s a good guy. Another way to look at it is that he just enjoys being manipulative, but since Holden seems to think she’s ok, that’s not necessarily the case here.
4. Why do you think Holden likes telling so many lies?
He’s not sure who he is, so he tries on a lot of different possible personalities with people. He also doesn’t want other people to know the truth about him, so he keeps people from getting too personal by making up stories.
5. What reason does Holden give for leaving Pencey early?
He explains that he’s headed home early because he has to have brain surgery.