RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 20

Chapter 20


  1. What does Holden’s wound symbolize on page 150?
  2. What is significant about Holden’s sitting on the radiator in the men’s room?
  3. Of what significance is it that Holden breaks the record he had bought for Phoebe?
  4. Does Holden find the ducks in the park when he goes there? In what ways is his discovery symbolic?
  5. Why is it particularly pathetic that there are chunks of ice in Holden’s hat?
  6. What does Holden find hypocritical about funerals?


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What does Holden find hypocritical about funerals?

In Chapter 20 of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden sits in Central Park with water freezing on his head and starts to worry that he will catch pneumonia and die. This sets him off on a mental tangent about funerals, cemeteries, and his dead brother Allie.

Holden finds death to be an inevitability, but doesn’t really care about the dying itself; instead, like everything else in his life, he focuses on what he perceives to be the dishonesty in others. They will “lay flowers on his stomach” and then “go someplace nice for dinner,” the implication being that they don’t actually care about remembering the dead but instead are simply making themselves feel better with a meaningless gesture. Death, therefore, is just another thing that the “phonies” will use to show others how much they care, while in reality the death — even of someone like Allie, who Holden genuinely loves — means nothing to them.


Answered on 06.06.2017.
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