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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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What does Holden admit about himself in The Catcher in the Rye?

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Near the end of The Catcher in the Rye, one of the most important things Holden Caulfield admits about himself is that he does not want to run away from home or from his responsibilities. The stimulus for this admission is his concern for his younger sister, Phoebe. Holden realizes that he can play a positive role in Phoebe’s life. In this way, he could save her, though he had not been able to save Allie.

When Phoebe shows up at the natural history museum with a packed suitcase and says she wants to go with him, he immediately rejects this idea. The thought of the dangers she would face while traveling makes him reconsider the entire plan. Holden realizes that he should follow a course of action that benefits, not endangers, the person he cares most about in the world. As he thinks of ways to persuade her not to follow him, he sees that he must offer to go home with her. Later, as he watches her ride the carousel, he starts to cry out of love for her. Holden’s dream of catching all children going over a cliff is thus concentrated in saving his sister.

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