Chapter 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who is Holden Caulfield?

2. Who is D.B., and why is Holden somewhat contemptuous of him?

3. What is the reality of Pencey Prep in contrast to the advertisements, as seen by Holden?

4. Why does Holden watch the game from the hill?

5. Who is Selma Thurmer, and why did Holden like her?

6. Who is Mr. Spencer, and why was Holden going to visit him?

7. Why was Holden trying to “feel” some kind of good-bye?

8. What does Holden think about the other students who attend Pencey?

9. How popular was the sport of polo at Pencey Prep?

10. Does Holden blame others for his flunking out of school?

1. Holden Caulfield is the narrator of the story. He has just been asked to leave Pencey Prep for failing four subjects. He is telling the story from California, where he is recuperating from being run-down.

2. D.B. is Holden’s older brother, who is a writer. Holden thinks he has prostituted himself because he is in Hollywood writing scripts for movies rather than writing short stories.

3. Holden feels that Pencey has high academic standards, but he is skeptical about its claim to mold boys into “splendid, clear-thinking young men.” He thinks that those boys who were splendid and clear thinkers were probably such before they enrolled.

4. He was reluctant...

(The entire section is 421 words.)

Chapter 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What had Mr. Spencer bought and shown the boys when they were visiting him one Sunday?

2. What advice did Dr. Thurmer give to Holden?

3. Did Holden agree with Dr. Thurmer’s description of life as a game? Explain your answer.

4. Was Pencey Prep really the fourth school from which Holden was asked to leave? Explain your answer.

5. What did Holden think about Mr. Spencer’s description of his parents as “grand people”?

6. Why did Holden write Mr. Spencer a note at the end of his examination paper?

7. What was Holden thinking about while he said the following: “I told him I was a real moron, and all that stuff. I told him how I would’ve done exactly the same thing if I’d been in his place, and how most people didn’t appreciate how tough it is being a teacher.”

8. Why did Holden leave Elkton Hills School?

9. What excuse did Holden give Mr. Spencer for having to end the visit?

10. Holden told Mr. Spencer not to worry about him. What reason did he give for not worrying?

1. Mr. Spencer had bought a Navajo blanket from an Indian in Yellowstone Park.

2. Dr. Thurmer said that life was a game and should be played according to the rules.

3. Holden felt that life was a game only if you were on the team with all the “hot-shots.” But if you were on the other side, i.e., with no hot-shots, then it was not a game.

4. Holden said it was “about the fourth school,” but the names of only two other schools are mentioned in the novel: Whooton School and Elkton Hills School.

5. Holden disliked the use of the word “grand.” He said that use of it was phony.

6. Holden wrote the note so that Mr. Spencer would not feel badly about flunking him.

7. Holden was thinking about the ducks in Central Park, i.e., where they went when the lagoon froze over.

8. Holden left Elkton Hills School primarily because he was surrounded by phonies.

9. Holden said that he had to go to the gym to pick up equipment in order to take it home with him.

10. Holden said that he was just going through a phase and that everyone goes through phases.

Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who is Ossenburger?

2. What was the substance of Ossenburger’s speech?

3. Who are Holden’s favorite authors?

4. How does Holden determine whether a book is outstanding?

5. What does Ackley usually do when he comes to visit Holden?

6. What is it about Ackley that Holden finds annoying?

7. Give an example of something which Ackley considered very funny.

8. Why does Ackley not like Stradlater?

9. What does Holden say in defense of Stradlater?

10. What did Stradlater want to borrow from Holden?

1. Ossenburger is the wealthy undertaker for whom a dormitory wing at Pencey Prep was named.

2. Ossenburger said that when he was in trouble he prayed to God. In addition Jesus should be thought of as one’s buddy.

3. Holden’s favorite authors are his brother, D.B., and Ring Lardner.

4. A book is outstanding if, when you are finished reading it, you wish that the author was a good friend, and you could call him on the telephone whenever you felt like it.

5. He usually walks around the room and picks up Holden’s personal things from his desk and chiffonier. What is equally irritating to Holden is that he always puts things back in the wrong places, seemingly on purpose.

6. Holden is annoyed by Ackley’s poor personal hygiene, his lack of respect for the privacy of others, and his overall thoughtlessness.

7. Ackley thought it was funny when the tennis racket hit Holden on the head.

8. Ackley thinks that Stradlater is conceited and has a superior attitude.

9. Holden says that Stradlater is generous in sharing his clothing.

10. Stradlater wanted to borrow Holden’s hound’s-tooth jacket.

Chapter 4 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. According to Holden, Ackley and Stradlater are both slobs. In what way are they different as slobs?

2. What favor does Stradlater ask of Holden?

3. According to Stradlater, what constitutes a good composition?

4. According to Ackley, what was it about Howie Coyle which made him a good basketball player?

5. What does Holden have to say about Stradlater’s sense of humor?

6. What was unique about the way in which Jane Gallagher played checkers?

7. What does Holden say about Jane Gallagher’s home life that piqued Stradlater’s curiosity?

8. How does Holden know that Stradlater would not tell Jane Gallagher that he had been kicked out of Pencey Prep?

9. When Stradlater asks Holden to write the composition for him, what does he say regarding the level of quality he wants?

10. Why is Holden glad to see Ackley return to his room?

1. Both are slobs, but Stradlater is a secret slob, who looks good on the outside.

2. Stradlater asks that Holden write a composition for him.

3. A good composition, according to Stradlater, is one which has all the punctuation in the right places.

4. Ackley felt that being a good basketball player was simply a question of having a perfect build for basketball.

5. Holden says that Stradlater does not have too bad a sense of humor because he laughed at Holden’s tap dancing.

6. When Jane Gallagher played checkers, she never moved any of her kings. She kept them all in the back row.

7. Holden says that Jane’s stepfather used to run around the house naked in front of her.

8. Stradlater does not care enough about Holden’s predicament to even bother to mention it to Jane Gallagher.

9. Stradlater tells Holden not to work too hard on the composition or make it too good. It is necessary only that it be very descriptive.

10. Holden is glad to see Ackley because his presence distracts Holden from worrying about Jane Gallagher.

Chapter 5 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. In Holden’s opinion why does Pencey Prep serve steak on Saturday night?

2. What is Ackley’s characteristic response whenever he is asked to go somewhere with the other boys?

3. Why do Holden, Brossard, and Ackley not go to the movies after all?

4. Why does Holden not like to sit next to Brossard and Ackley at the movies?

5. What card game does Brossard enjoy most of all?

6. What does Holden write about for Stradlater’s composition?

7. Why did Allie have writing on his baseball mitt?

8. How did Allie die?

9. How did Holden react to Allie’s death?

10. Does Holden express dislike or sympathy for Ackley at the end of this chapter?

1. Holden thinks that steak is served on Saturday so that when parents who visit on Sunday ask what was served last night, the boys would answer, “Steak.”

2. Ackley’s usual response is never to answer right away. Then he asks who else is going.

3. They do not go to the movie because Brossard and Ackley had already seen the movie that was playing.

4. Brossard and Ackley laugh excessively while watching a movie.

5. Brossard enjoys playing bridge.

6. Holden writes about his brother Allie’s baseball mitt.

7. Allie had poems written on the mitt so that he would have something to read when he was in the field, and nobody was up at bat.

8. Allie died of leukemia on July 18, 1946.

9. Holden slept in the garage the night Allie died and broke all the windows in the garage with his fist.

10. Holden catalogs all of Ackley’s physical problems and concludes that one had to feel sorry for him.

Chapter 6 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is Holden so interested in what happened on Stradlater’s date?

2. Why does Stradlater not like the composition which Holden wrote for him?

3. Why does Holden smoke in bed?

4. Where did Stradlater go on his date with Jane Gallagher?

5. How would you describe Holden’s attitude toward athletes?

6. Why does Holden punch Stradlater?

7. According to Holden, how can you identify a moron?

8. Why is Stradlater nervous after hitting Holden?

9. What does Holden do before looking in the mirror?

10. What is Holden’s reaction to all the blood?

1. Holden is concerned that Stradlater may take advantage of Jane Gallagher.

2. Stradlater’s understanding is that the essay should be a description of a room or a house. Holden wrote a description of his brother’s baseball glove.

3. Holden smokes in bed because it irritates Stradlater.

4. Stradlater says that he spent the evening in the car with Jane.

5. Holden sees athletes as a clique which is dispensed from following the rules.

6. Holden punches Stradlater because he assumes that Stradlater had seduced Jane on their date.

7. Holden says that a moron can be recognized in that he never wants to discuss anything intelligently.

8. Stradlater fears that he may have seriously injured Holden.

9. Holden first puts on his hunting cap.

10. Holden says that he is partly scared and partly fascinated by the blood. Also, he feels that it makes him look tough.

Chapter 7 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Ackley not want to play canasta?

2. Why does Holden become angry with Ackley?

3. When Ackley insists on hearing the reasons for the fight, how does Holden answer him?

4. What does Holden think about as he lies in Ely’s bed?

5. What is it about Stradlater that makes him so dangerous on a date?

6. What makes Holden so lonely that he wakes up Ackley?

7. What is it that really upsets Ackley?

8. What does Holden decide when he leaves Ackley’s room?

9. Why does packing his ice skates make Holden sad?

10. How does Holden feel as he is about to leave Pencey Prep?


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Chapter 8 Questions and Answers

Study Quesstions
1. Why does Holden walk to the train station?

2. What does Holden say when asked whether he likes Pencey Prep?

3. Why is Mrs. Morrow concerned about Ernest?

4. Because Holden likes Mrs. Morrow, what does he tell her about Ernest?

5. According to Holden, why was Ernest Morrow not elected president of the class?

6. What does Mrs. Morrow suspect is the reason for Holden’s going home late on a Saturday night?

7. What is Holden’s explanation for going home on Saturday?

8. Why does Mrs. Morrow keep calling Holden by the name Rudolf?

9. Where does Mrs. Morrow invite Holden to visit Ernest in the...

(The entire section is 279 words.)

Chapter 9 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Holden do when he reaches Penn Station?

2. What does Holden discuss with the cab driver on the way to the Edmont Hotel?

3. What is Holden’s opinion of the Edmont Hotel?

4. How does Holden describe the bellman at the Edmont Hotel?

5. How does Holden feel about “necking” with girls whom he does not really care about?

6. What type of rules does Holden have difficulty observing?

7. What excuse has Holden planned to use in order to get through to Jane Gallagher on the telephone after-hours?

8. Why does Holden not call Jane Gallagher?

9. From whom did Holden get Faith Cavendish’s...

(The entire section is 364 words.)

Chapter 10 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Holden decide not to call Phoebe?

2. How does Holden feel about Phoebe?

3. How much does Holden think it will cost him to get a prime table in the Lavender Room?

4. How does Holden know that the three girls at the next table are not from New York City?

5. How do the girls react when Holden asks them whether anyone wants to dance?

6. What does Bernice say that betrays how shallow she is?

7. Does Bernice enjoy dancing with Holden?

8. How does Holden overstep the bounds of propriety with Bernice?

9. Do the girls invite Holden to sit down at their table?

10. How does Holden...

(The entire section is 289 words.)

Chapter 11 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Does Holden think that Stradlater seduced Jane Gallagher?

2. What sports does Jane Gallagher enjoy playing?

3. How did Jane Gallagher and Holden get to be friends?

4. What kind of books did Jane Gallagher like to read?

5. Is Jane Gallagher pretty?

6. What was it that made Jane Gallagher cry when she and Holden were playing checkers?

7. How important was necking in Holden’s relationship with Jane Gallagher?

8. How does Holden know about Ernie’s in Greenwich Village?

9. Who is Ernie?

10. What does Holden find especially irritating about Ernie?


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Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

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?”


(The entire section is 313 words.)

Chapter 13 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Holden walk back to the hotel rather than take a cab?

2. What does Holden think about as he walks back to the hotel?

3. What kind of a drinker does Holden think he is?

4. How does Holden feel when he arrives back at the hotel?

5. What excuse does Holden give for agreeing to meet with the prostitute?

6. What does Holden think about a girl’s ability to control herself in the heat of passion?

7. Does Holden look forward to meeting with the prostitute?

8. How does Holden feel when the prostitute takes off her dress?

9. When does Holden begin to feel sorry for Sunny?

10. What...

(The entire section is 329 words.)

Chapter 14 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. After Sunny leaves Holden’s room, whom does he begin talking to?

2. What is it that Holden finds disturbing about Jesus’ disciples?

3. How does Holden’s belief about Judas differ from that of his friend Arthur Childs?

4. How does Holden say that Jesus chose his disciples?

5. How does Holden know who is knocking on his door even before opening it?

6. Why do Maurice and Sunny return to Holden’s room?

7. What is it about ministers that Holden does not like?

8. How does Maurice respond when Holden says that he is going to scream his head off if Maurice roughs him up?

9. What religion are the...

(The entire section is 273 words.)

Chapter 15 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When Holden awakens on Sunday morning, he thinks about the time of his last meal. When was that?

2. Whom does Holden think about calling when he awakens?

3. Where is Sally supposed to meet Holden?

4. Why does Holden not want to tell his mother that he was expelled again?

5. Why did Dick Slagle take Holden’s suitcases out from under the bed and put them out where they could be seen?

6. What was Dick Slagle’s favorite word?

7. Why did Holden miss Dick Slagle after they were given different roommates?

8. What subjects do the two nuns teach?

9. What does Holden find annoying about Catholics?...

(The entire section is 283 words.)

Chapter 16 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What makes Holden sad when he thinks about the nuns?

2. How did the little boy walking with his family lift Holden’s spirits?

3. What kind of shows does Sally Hayes like to see?

4. Although Holden is getting low on cash, he takes a cab to the park instead of the subway. Why?

5. What is it about Phoebe’s liking to skate near the bandstand that Holden thinks is funny?

6. Why is the young girl in the park having trouble tightening her skate?

7. How does Holden feel while he thinks about Miss Aigletinger taking his class to the museum?

8. What is it about Gertrude Levine, his partner at the museum, that...

(The entire section is 254 words.)

Chapter 17 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is Holden depressed when he is sitting in the lobby of the Biltmore?

2. Name two outstanding characteristics of Harris Macklin.

3. What is the best thing Holden can say about bores?

4. After Sally tells Holden that she loves him, how does she want to change him?

5. Holden says that the Lunts do not act like people or actors. What does he say they act like?

6. Why does Sally not talk much during the intermission?

7. What article of clothing does Holden associate with “Ivy League types?”

8. Why does Holden think that Sally really wants to go skating?

9. How do Holden and Sally’s skating...

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Chapter 18 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. After Holden leaves the skating rink, where does he go?

2. In Holden’s opinion, how do girls defend a boy they like if someone criticizes him by calling him mean or conceited?

3. Why did Bob Robinson have an inferiority complex?

4. Why does Holden go to Radio City after he leaves the drugstore?

5. According to Holden, what is there about the show at Radio City that Jesus would really like?

6. In the movie, what happens to Alec that causes him to regain his memory?

7. Why is Holden so critical of the lady who sits next to him in the movie?

8. What kind of job did D.B. have when he was overseas in the army?...

(The entire section is 299 words.)

Chapter 19 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Describe the entertainment at the Wicker Bar.

2. What types of people frequent the Wicker Bar?

3. Why does Holden not like the bartender at the Wicker Bar?

4. What was the relationship between Luce and Holden when they were at Whooton together?

5. What word does Luce use frequently?

6. How old is Luce’s current girl friend?

7. Give one reason why Luce prefers Eastern philosophy to Western philosophy.

8. What is one of the annoying things about Luce, according to Holden?

9. What advice did Luce give to Holden?

10. What is the one positive thing Holden says about Luce at the end of...

(The entire section is 261 words.)

Chapter 20 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. After Valencia sings, what does Holden ask the headwaiter to do?

2. When Holden leaves the Wicker Bar, why is he holding his stomach?

3. After Holden talks to Sally Hayes on the telephone, how does he picture her at home that evening?

4. While in the restroom, what advice does Holden give the piano player at the Wicker Bar?

5. What excuse does the lady in the hat-check room give Holden for not going on a date with him?

6. Because it is dark and spooky, what does Holden say he would do if he happened to see someone in Central Park?

7. What does Holden say he wants done with his body when he dies?

8. Why was...

(The entire section is 324 words.)

Chapter 21 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When Holden gets on the elevator, whom does he tell the operator he is going to visit?

2. Holden is very skillful at opening the door quietly. What profession does he say he should have gone into?

3. When Holden enters the family apartment, how does he know for sure that he is in the right apartment?

4. How does Holden describe his mother’s hearing ability?

5. Why does Phoebe not like her own room?

6. During the first few moments that he is in Phoebe’s room, Holden says something he has not said for many chapters. What is it?

7. Holden’s mother has outstanding tastes in what area?

8. What kind of...

(The entire section is 271 words.)

Chapter 22 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. To what does Holden compare Phoebe’s behavior when she finds out that he was expelled from Pencey?

2. Where does Holden say that his father will send him when he learns that Holden has been expelled?

3. Even though Holden likes Mr. Spencer, why does he consider him a phony?

4. What was the Pencey alumnus looking for when he came to Holden and Stradlater’s dorm?

5. When Holden thinks about the nuns, what does he picture them doing?

6. Why did James Castle commit suicide?

7. What was the topic of the only conversation that Holden remembers having with James Castle?

8. What habit of Holden’s does Phoebe...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Chapter 23 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Mr. Antolini respond to Holden’s telephone call?

2. Who taught Phoebe to dance?

3. How does Holden feel after he dances with Phoebe?

4. What behavior of Charlene, the maid, does Phoebe object to?

5. Where does Phoebe say her prayers before she goes to bed that evening?

6. Why does Holden say that he has to leave the house?

7. Why does Phoebe not want Holden to go away?

8. Where does Holden plan to stay until Wednesday?

9. How does Phoebe try to comfort Holden when he is crying?

10. What does Holden do with the hunting hat?

1. Mr....

(The entire section is 272 words.)

Chapter 24 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did Mr. Antolini feel about D.B. going to Hollywood?

2. Why does Mrs. Antolini not want Holden to look at her when she enters the room with the coffee and cake?

3. What criteria does Holden say one must meet in order to get a good grade in Oral Expression?

4. Why does Holden like Richard Kinsella’s speeches better than anyone else’s?

5. Holden admits that there were times when he hated both Stradlater and Ackley. What else does Holden say about them?

6. What is the sense of the quote from Wilhelm Stekel which Mr. Antolini writes down for Holden?

7. What does Mr. Antolini say that Holden will do once he decides...

(The entire section is 390 words.)

Chapter 25 and 26 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where does Holden spend the rest of the night after he leaves Mr. Antolini’s apartment?

2. What does Holden worry about as he tries to stop thinking about the scene with Mr. Antolini?

3. Whom does Holden think about calling before he meets Phoebe?

4. What rule would Holden require all visitors at his cabin to observe?

5. How does Holden recognize Phoebe from a distance at the museum?

6. Why does Phoebe have a suitcase with her?

7. What does Phoebe say to Holden that he says sounds worse than swearing?

8. How does Holden feel as he stands in the rain watching Phoebe ride the carousel?

9. From...

(The entire section is 265 words.)