The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 17

Chapter 17

 

  1. Why is Holden’s date with Sally such a disaster?
  2. Give several examples of Holden using poor judgment in this chapter.
  3. Find an example of Holden’s sensitivity to language.
  4. From page 130-134, Holden outlines almost all his anxieties about life. Make a list of his criticisms.
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Why is Holden’s date with Sally such a disaster?

One of the major features of this chapter is that the reader becomes very aware of the erratic nature of Holden’s mindset. Initially he is over-awed with emotion when he first sees Sally, to the point where he tells her he ‘loved her and all’ (p113). He soon changes his tune when she meets her friend from Andover and says that he ‘sort of hated Sally by the time we got in the cab’ (p115). He still continues his date, probably because he has nowhere else to be (p115) and at the cafe in Radio City asks her to go to Vermont or Massachusetts, to get married and settle there. Following her sensible rejection of this idea, he calls her a ‘royal pain in the ass'(p120) and then ponders why he started ‘all that stuff with her’ (p121).

Give several examples of Holden using poor judgment in this chapter.

The question first occurs to Holden as he waits for Sally under the clock at the Biltmore Hotel. He is girl watching in his own way. Instead of wondering what it would be like to be with this girl or that, temporarily, Holden’s mind drifts. He begins to wonder what will “happen to all of them.” What kinds of life partners — “dopey guys,” as he calls them — will they find? Some probably will end up with petulant jerks who pout if they lose a game of golf. Others will marry mean guys or boring guys or guys who never read a book. Typically, Holden then digresses about a boring guy he knew who could whistle exceptionally well. Considering the events about to unfold, perhaps he should worry more about the kind of partner he may end up with. Sally is convenient and familiar and available, but she is no Jane Gallagher.

Find an example of Holden’s sensitivity to language.

Many literary critics  marveled at Salinger’s use of language, which was used to make Holden Caulfield, the main character, extremely realistic. Such language includes both repetition of phrases and blatant cursing, in order to capture the informal speech of the average, northeastern American adolescent. Through Holden’s thoughts and dialogues, Salinger successfully created a teenage boy.

Like most teenagers, Holden speaks in trite sentences. However, he also uses words in places that were then uncommon. Holden often leaves his sentences dangling with words like “and all” and “or anything.” Salinger intentionally used such speech repetition to individualize Holden…

From page 130-134, Holden outlines almost all his anxieties about life. Make a list of his criticisms.

  • Holden doesn’t want to wait until after college to live his life.  He wants to run off and live in a cabin in New England.  He says that after college you have to grow up and “follow the rules”.
  • Holden hates the play because the actors were showing off more than they were acting.
  • Holden hates the “name-dropping” that Sally and George engage in at the play.  Phoniness!
  • Holden hates the phoniness of George and the social groups of the “Ivy-League type” like George who stand around and talk about the play.
  • Holden doesn’t like it when Sally says he should grow out his hair because his hairstyle is old-fashioned.  Again, a phony statement by Sally who can’t accept Holden for who he is even though she says she “loves” him.
  • Holden’s anxiety about sex causes him to change the subject when Sally asks him if he is coming over to “trim the Christmas tree” with her.
  • One of the final anxieties is that Holden doesn’t think anyone understands him.  This is shown when Sally thinks Holden is shouting, and Holden says he isn’t.

 

Answered on 01.06.2017.
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