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Catcher in the Rye


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The Author
Chapter 1
Chapters 2 -3
Chapters 4-5
Chapters 6-8
Chapters 9-10
Chapters 11-12
Chapters 13-15
Chapters 16-17
Chapters 18-20
Chapters 21-23
Chapters 24-26



Chapters 24 to 26


Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's apartment expecting to receive sympathy and understanding. Holden tells him that rules at Pencey are too strict and squelch creativity. Instead of agreeing with him Mr. Antolini points the fallacies for this argument and Holden backs down. After having coffee, Mr. Antolini becomes more serious and tries to warn Holden that he sees major problems in his future unless he learns to apply himself and learns to face his issues.

He tells him that he is not the only young man to have problems with the onset of adulthood, but that the must try and make an effort to apply himself in school if he is to have any future. Only in this way can he learn more about the world and the workings of his own mind.

Feeling very tired Holden goes to sleep on the couch. He is startled when he suddenly feels Mr. Antolini's hand stroking his head. Feeling uncomfortable after that, Holden leaves the apartment in a hurry.

Holden is unsure where to go. On impulse it seems, Holden decides to go out west to find a new start and wants to meet Phoebe for the last time to say goodbye.

The rest of the chapter involves Holden going to Phoebe's school to deliver the message to meet him in the museum. While inside, Holden tries to erase dirty graffiti messages to protect the minds of the innocent elementary children. At the museum, he comforts a couple of small boys who are frightened to see the mummies. Now he is really becoming a catcher in the rye.

Later, Holden and Phoebe meet and have an argument about him going out west. Eventually Holden gives in and decides not to go. Instead he goes to the zoo with Phoebe and the scene ends with her riding on the carousel alone while Holden watches her, again acting as a catcher in the rye.

Salinger's last chapter is really not much of a chapter, but just a brief commentary note to the reader by Holden, who provides an update of his current plans. As usual, he isn't really sure what those plans are, not knowing whether or not he'll apply himself in school next fall.



Holden leaves Mr. Antolini's house dazed and confused, yet still unwilling to judge him without knowing all the facts. Unlike previous situations in the dorm where Holden is quick to judge others, this time the boy refrains from thinking anything about Mr. Antolini. This marks a progression in Holden's growth as a person and especially as a catcher in the rye. Holden simply absorbs everything around him, both good and bad, being unable and unwilling to judge between good and evil anymore. Holden will try to save all the children, not just the good ones.

There are some interesting scenes with Phoebe whose actions clearly stop her disturbed brother embarking on his hitchhiking trek out West. He has a chance to act the part of a 'catcher in the rye' even whilst falling apart at the seams psychologically. He realizes this because if Phoebe went with him hitchhiking this would destroy her innocence and his peculiar behavior would prove harmful as well. He, therefore, decides to stay and protect his sister from the pain of the real world and save her from the fall over the cliff into adulthood.

The final scene is taken up with Holden watching his sister on the merry-go-round and suddenly he is deliriously happy witnessing the scene of childhood happiness and innocence with no intrusion from the ugly, adult world.

Finally, although Holden refuses to talk more about his story, a few important details are obtained. He was sent from his home to a sanatorium to recover from the breakdown. He will be going to a new school in the Fall, where it is hoped he will be able to apply himself.

Throughout the whole telling of the tale there is this defensive cynical tone, and it is clear that Holden was not able to find any hope in the adult world, which surrounded and finally engulfed him.

At the end of the book, when Holden says that he misses everyone, even Maurice, the seemingly ruthless archenemy of Holden, it proves for the last time that Holden has become a true catcher in the rye. Someone who wants to protect everyone, no matter whether he is good or evil. Holden can't distinguish between the two and doesn't wish to. Perhaps he is even trying to protect his most valuable asset: his own perceptions of others.

Despite all he has gone through, there is still a facet of innocence in his character, which makes his story so remarkable, and this may well make the future for Holden more hopeful.



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