RE: The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 22 Questions
- What is the significance of Holden’s wanting to be the “catcher in the rye”? What things has he done, or tried to do, during the course of the novel to try to be the “catcher in the eye”?
- How is the name Holden Caulfield an echo of the title, The Catcher in the Rye?
- How does Phoebe think their father will react to Holden’s expulsion?
- What does Phoebe challenge Holden to do?
- Where does Holden think he might be, despite his father’s wishes?
What is the significance of Holden’s wanting to be the “catcher in the rye”? What things has he done, or tried to do, during the course of the novel to try to be the “catcher in the eye”?
Holden’s interpretation of the poem centers around the loss of innocence (adults and society corrupt and ruin children), and his instinctual desire to protect them (his sister in particular). Holden sees himself as “the catcher in the rye.” Throughout the novel, he’s confronted with the realities of growing up–of violence, sexuality and corruption (or “phoniness”), and he doesn’t want any part of it.
Holden is (in some ways) incredibly naive and innocent about worldly realities. He doesn’t want to accept the world as it is, but he also feels powerless, unable to affect change. He wants to “rescue” the children (like some Pied Piper of Hamelin, playing a lute or leading a lyrical chant–to take the children off to some unknown place). The growing-up process is almost like a runaway train, moving so fast and furiously in a direction that’s beyond his control (or, even, really his comprehension). He can’t do anything to stop or stall it, and he realizes that his wish to save the children is “crazy”– perhaps even unrealistic and impossible. Everyone must grow up. It’s a sad, stark reality for him (one that he doesn’t want to accept).