Who is shirly beano? Why does the sight of the six year old boy with his parents raise Holden's spirit?

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allyson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden buys his little sister Phoebe a record called "Little Shirley Beans," but it breaks before he can give it to her. Because it was a gift from him, however, Phoebe keeps the pieces.

On the way to the record store, Holden sees the little boy on the street with his parents, he becomes less depressed listening to the boy singing "if a body catch a body comin' through the rye." He states that the boy did not pay any attention to his parents and was "just singing for the hell of it." Holden seems to admire people who do not care what others think of them. This song also relates to the title of the book: Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye.

Read the study guide:
The Catcher in the Rye

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