Does Holden know his way around the city? What does this tell us about him?In chapter 15

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Holden is very urbane and sophisticated for a sixteen-year-old. He knows his way around New York because he lives in the heart of the city. The novel was published in 1945. This was before Manhattan underwent a huge post-war demographic change. Upper middle-class whites began moving out of the city, and many inner-city residential neighborhoods deteriorated. John Cheever's short stories mostly depict the upper middle-class suburbanites and exurbanites who had a different lifestyle, with the husbands commuting into Manhattan to their high-paying jobs and then leaving for home after work, while the wives shopped, socialized, and played tennis a the country club. Holden's New York was still compact and safe. The best stores were in lower Manhattan, including Brooks Brothers where he bought his clothes. People of his social class lived in apartments. John Cheever's early story "The Enormous Radio" provides a glimpse of life in the days before "white flight." Many of James Thurber's stories, especially those collected in The Thurber Carnival, also deal with the period before "white flight."

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