RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 25
- How is Holden’s physical condition deteriorating in this chapter?
- How is Holden’s mental condition deteriorating in this chapter?
- What indication is there that Holden may be starting to question his own generalizations?
- Why does Holden want to be a deaf mute?
- Relate the writing on the wall at Phoebe’s school to Holden’s wanting to be a “catcher in the rye.”
What indication is there that Holden may be starting to question his own generalizations?
This chapter, many readers think, contains the culmination of the novel: the instant when Holden decides to refuse the imagination of the cabin in the West and reconnect with his home. Some readers explain his decision as a sort of crash or at least an acceptance of hopelessness because of Holden’s reaction to the shameful graffiti he encounters where children will see it. Readers are right that Holden decides he cannot clean up the world to make it safe for innocent children.
However, it may be that Holden has grasped that the cause he’d taken up, to be the “catcher” of the children near the cliff, is unrealistic, or at least that he’s going about the job wrong. Whatever Holden’s adult life entails, it won’t involve pretending to be a deaf-mute, avoiding conversation, and trying to rub out offending words. He turns his back on that hopeless quest and focuses instead on the children’s willingness to reach out for the gold ring, despite the risks.