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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 313

Study Questions
1. What is the main theme of the first paragraph?

2. How does Holden describe Horwitz’s personality?

3. What does Holden discuss with Horwitz?

4. How does Holden characterize the patrons at Ernie’s?

5. What is it that Holden objects to about the crowd at Ernie’s?

6. Why does Holden feel sorry for Ernie?

7. Describe the conversations going on at tables next to Holden.

8. Who is Lillian Simmons?

9. From Lillian Simmons’ point of view, what is most impressive about D.B.?

10. How does Holden feel about such social amenities as saying to someone, “Glad to have met you?”

1. The main theme of the first paragraph is loneliness. He mentions it twice as well as the ducks, symbols of loneliness and alienation.

2. Holden describes Horwitz as impatient and the type of man who always sounds angry about something when he speaks.

3. Holden discusses with Horwitz what happens to the ducks and fish in the Central Park lagoon in the winter.

4. Holden says that most of the patrons are college and prep school students who are jerks.

5. Holden objects to the fact that the crowd applauds Ernie whether he plays well or poorly.

6. Holden feels sorry for Ernie because Ernie may not know anymore whether he is playing well or poorly, since people applaud regardless of how he plays the piano.

7. At one table a guy was reviewing every play of a football game for his girlfriend. At another table a guy was discussing an attempted suicide at school while giving his girlfriend a feel under the table.

8. Lillian Simmons is a girl whom Holden’s brother, D.B., used to date.

9. Lillian Simmons is most impressed by the fact that D.B. is a writer in Hollywood.

10. Holden dislikes using those expressions when he does not mean them. But he believes that “If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff. . . .”

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