RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 16

Chapter 16


  1. What is the importance of “Little Shirley Beans”?
  2. How does Holden react to children?
  3. How does Holden remember his own childhood?
  4. Holden changes the wording of the song from “If a body meet a body coming through the rye…” to “If a body catch a body coming through the rye…” What characteristics does Holden find desirable in the child singing?
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What is the importance of “Little Shirley Beans”?

The record, “Little Shirley Beans”, is symbolic of childhood and the sense of innocence of which Holden is afraid to let go.  Fittingly, the song is “about a little kid that wouldn’t go out of the house because two of her front teeth were out and she was ashamed to”.  Like Holden, the little girl in the song is afraid of the changes that accompany growing older, in her case, the loss of her baby teeth. Holden pays five dollars for the record, which is a lot of money. Symbolically, he would pay dearly to be able to avoid the reality of growing up.

Answered on 13.06.2017.
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