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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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In The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, what is Holden's "hounds-tooth"?

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At the beginning of Chapter 6, Holden says of Stradlater, who has just returned from his date with Jane Gallagher:

All he did was thank me for letting him wear my hound's-tooth.

Towards the end of Chapter 4, Holden calls the hound's-tooth by its full name.

He put on my hound's-tooth jacket.

"Jesus, now, try not to stretch it all over the place," I said. 

Holden has good reason to worry about Stradlater stretching his sports jacket, since the athletic Stradlater is bigger and more muscular. 

Hound's-tooth was a type of wool fabric used in suits and sports jackets in those days. The fabric, which was popular in the Fifties and Sixties, was a combination of identical dark and white rounded or oval shapes which resembled a checkered pattern except that the shapes, or checks, were very small. Young men like Holden and Stradlater did not ordinarily wear suits. At a prep school like Pencey they could wear slacks and sweaters with dress shoes to classes or to the dining hall--but no tennis shoes. They favored slacks and sports jackets for dates and other off-campus activities. 

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