What are the things Holden likes and dislikes in The Catcher in the Rye?  Please show the quote and the number of the chapter if possible. Thanks.

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 22, when Holden sneaks into his sister Phoebe's bedroom in their Manhattan apartment after fleeing Pencey, she accuses him of not liking anything. He denies it, and she challenges him to come up with something he likes. The dialogue goes as follows:

"You don't like anything that's happening."

It made me even more depressed when she said that.

"Yes I do. Yes I do. Sure I do. Don't say that. Why the hell do you say that?"

"Because you don't. You don't like any schools. You don't like a million things. You don't."

"I do! That's where you're wrong—that's exactly where you're wrong! Why the hell do you have to say that?" I said. Boy, was she depressing me.

"Because you don't," she said. "Name one thing."

Holden thinks and thinks, telling the reader he has trouble concentrating, but when Phoebe presses him, he can only come up with liking Allie and liking where he is here and now, sitting with Phoebe. She dismisses both as not counting: Allie is dead, and being with her, she exclaims, "Isn't anything really!" She then asks him what he would like to be, and he tells her he would like to be the catcher in the rye, saving innocent children from running off the edge of a cliff. The passage goes as follows:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.

In a broader sense, however, we learn that Holden likes several things: he likes to write and is good at it, which we know because Stradlater asks him to write an essay for him and we witness Holden enjoying doing so. He likes literature, for example, genuinely enjoying a conversation about Romeo and Juliet. We also know he likes writing and literature because English is the only class he passes at Pencey. He likes children and people who he feels are genuine or have an innocence about them, like Jane. He dislikes people he feels are phonies, who are fixated on themselves and how they present themselves to others (Stradlater) and lacking in empathy, thus potentially destructive and predatory.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden loves anything connected to a sense of innocence, mainly children, and he dislikes anything that tries to rob people of their sense of innocence, mainly "phonies."  For example, in the last few chapters, Holden goes to meet Phoebe and he takes her to the park to ride the carousel.  While she rides, he watches her and is glad that she is taking a risk so that she can learn from her childhood experiences.  Holden appreciates the sense of innocence that Phoebe has, and this is why he likes being around her.  On the other hand, Holden hates people who steal the innocence away from others.  In Chapter 4, Holden learns that Jane is going on a date with Stradlater.  Holden hates Stradlater because Stradlater does not consider the feelings of others.  Holden has a crush on Jane, yet feels inadequate and does not tell her his true feelings.  He knows that Stradlater does not genuinely like Jane and that he is simply going to use her by going out with her.  So Holden likes anything that reminds him of childhood innocence and hates anything that tries to take that away.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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