RE: The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 25 Questions
- How does Holden help the two kids at the museum? What is symbolic about the meeting? What is ironic?
- Explain two examples of Holden’s accepting reality in this chapter.
- What does Phoebe wanting to go away with Holden do for him? How does Phoebe force Holden to accept responsibility?
- What is symbolic and ironic about Phoebe’s role in the school play?
- What is the significance of Phoebe’s riding the carousel and reaching for the gold ring?
- How is Holden’s hunting hat symbolic in this chapter?
What is the significance of Phoebe’s riding the carousel and reaching for the gold ring?
The scene with Phoebe at the carousel deserves some explanation. Carousels used to have a gold ring in the center which children could grab for as a prize. Here, Holden makes the ultimate gesture demonstrating that he finds his dream of being the “catcher in the rye” both impossible and undesirable: “All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she’d fall off the goddam horse, but I didn’t say anything or do anything. . . . If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them.” In letting Phoebe go, despite the possibility that she might “fall,” Holden acknowledges that her future is her choice, not his. Falling off the cliff does not necessarily lead to phoniness, and Holden has realized that children must make their own decisions. Here, the sight of Phoebe going around and around on the carousel cheers him up because it seems as if she will never go anywhere-that she will never change.