In "The Catcher in the Rye", why does Holden feel so close to Phoebe?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Phoebe seems to only family member with whom Holden can communicate. The is probably because she is still a child and one of Holden's problems is that he doesn't want to grow up. However, Phoebe is blunt and says exactly what she means. She is frustrated with Holden's disenchantment with the world and even asks him, "Is there anything you like?" Still, Holden likes to take her places, just like he took his younger brother Allie before Allie died. It is Phoebe who Holden tells about wanting to be a Catcher in the Rye. So Phoebe, with her almost adult-like look on the world, fulfills several needs for Holden. She is a child so she doesn't frighten or threaten Holden, yet she is not afraid to confront Holden about his decisions. Holden needs Phoebe to stay connected to the real world.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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