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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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How does Holden create conflict in his relationships three times in The Catcher in the Rye?

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In one of the novel's opening scenes, Holden provokes his roommate, Stradlater, by trying to pry information out of him about his date with Jane Gallagher. Because Stradlater is not completely forthcoming about the date, Holden becomes upset and worried that Stradlater has somehow hurt or defiled Jane. Holden calls Stradlater a "moron" and hurls other insults at him and then tears up the composition he has written for him. Stradlater retaliates by pinning Holden down and hitting him.

In chapter 17, Holden meets Sally Hayes for a date. At the ice-skating rink, Holden rants to Sally about all the "phonies" he has met at school and in New York. He proposes that they run away together to a cabin; when she ridicules his idea, he calls her a "royal pain in the ass." Their date ends with Sally in tears.

When Holden visits Phoebe in chapter 21, he admits to her that he has been kicked out of Pencey Prep and tells her he is thinking of going to a ranch in Colorado. This is upsetting to Phoebe because she knows their parents will be upset, and also because she doesn't want him to leave. She puts her pillow over her head and refuses to listen to him any further.

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