In The Catcher in the Rye, what does the the note that Mr. Antolini gives Holden say?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 24 of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden goes to visit Mr. Antolini, and Mr. Antolini gives him a note with an important quotation on it.  Mr. Antolini tells Holden that the quotation is from a famous psychoanalyst named Wilhelm Stekel.  The note reads as follows:

'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.'

Holden tucks the note into his pocket and feels immediately tired.  Holden does not want to admit that he realizes that Mr. Antolini is teaching him an incredibly important lesson about himself.  Holden is on a destructive life path--flunking out of school, getting kicked out of several boarding schools, and not making connections with others.  Mr. Antolini wants Holden to understand that he is in control of his life and situation, and that it would be "immature" to throw his life away just to make a point about the "phony" nature of the adult world.  

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The Catcher in the Rye

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