From Catcher in the Rye, explain this passage in terms of significance and thoughts.  If you have the book it will be on page 189-190 starts...

From Catcher in the Rye, explain this passage in terms of significance and thoughts.

 

If you have the book it will be on page 189-190 starts with :

"All right--the Mr. Vinsons. Once you get past all the Mr. Vinsons" and ends  : "You'll begin to know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly.""

Or you can find it on this site near the bottom:

http://pyrosarco.com/archives/catcherintherye.php

Thanks!

1 Answer

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In The Catcher in the Rye, Mr. Antonlini could have been a Deus ex Machina, a character who saves Holden from destruction.  Mr. Antonolini's advice seems similar to what Salinger might be saying to us, so this passage is as close to an exemplum as there is in the novel.

Holden, Antolini says, is in for a terrible fall.  He's been contemplating suicide because he sees no redeeming value in the world, not in school, family, friends, or women.  And Holden's been contemplating joining a monastery to escape the evils of the world, and Antolini is saying that he can through secular education, not religion.  He wants him to be an artist and scholar.

Mr. Antolini is saying that education and the love of knowledge is the key to Holden's future.  He encourages him to see the interrelationship between literature and society rather than focus on all the phonies in society:

Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them--if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry...I'm not trying to tell you," he said, "that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. It's not so. But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they're brilliant and creative to begin with--which, unfortunately, is rarely the case--tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them than men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end. And--most important--nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker. Do you follow me at all?"

Antolini says there are two kinds of men in this world: romantics and realists:

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."

Antolini is saying that romantics like Mercutio and James Castle died nobly for a cause, but he wants Holden to be a realist and live humbly for one, namely literature.  Art and literature (this novel he's telling to us) is Holden's catcher in the rye.