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’s wound symbolize on page 150?

What Holden’s wound symbolizes is that he covers it up to be unnoticed yet he wants to be someone different and belong. As he states, ” I was the only guy at the bar with a bulletin my guts. I kept putting my hand under my jacket, on my stomach and all, to keep the blood from dripping all over the place.”  This symbolizes Holden’s internal pain and suffering.

 

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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What is significant about Holden’s sitting on the radiator in the men’s room?

Holden sits on the radiator because it keeps him warm. Then I walked over to this radiator by the window and sat down on it. “It was nice and warm. It felt good because I was shivering like a bastard. It’s a funny thing, I always shiver like hell when I’m drunk.” (pg#81) He keeps counting the squares on the floor and it shows how completely lonely he is and how he is in need of human attention.

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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Of what significance is it that Holden breaks the record he had bought for Phoebe?

The significance of the broken record is that it connects to Holden’s emotions and it is chattered and broken like he is. ” I damn near cried, it made me feel so terrible, but all I did was, I took the pieces out of the envelope and put them away in my coat pocket.” Phoebe also picks up those shattered pieces; she is Holden’s salvation and his support.

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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Does Holden find the ducks in the park when he goes there? In what ways is his discovery symbolic?

Holden’s curiosity about where the ducks go during the winter reveals a genuine, more youthful side to his character. For most of the book, he sounds like a grumpy old man who is angry at the world, but his search for the ducks represents the curiosity of youth and a joyful willingness to encounter the mysteries of the world. It is a memorable moment, because Holden clearly lacks such willingness in other aspects of his life.

The ducks and their pond are symbolic in several ways. Their mysterious perseverance in the face of an inhospitable environment resonates with Holden’s understanding of his own situation. In addition, the ducks prove that some vanishings are only temporary. Traumatized and made acutely aware of the fragility of life by his brother Allie’s death, Holden is terrified by the idea of change and disappearance. The ducks vanish every winter, but they return every spring, thus symbolizing change that isn’t permanent, but cyclical. Finally, the pond itself becomes a minor metaphor for the world as Holden sees it, because it is “partly frozen and partly not frozen.” The pond is in transition between two states, just as Holden is in transition between childhood and adulthood.

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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Why is it particularly pathetic that there are chunks of ice in Holden’s hat?

Holden seems to have a profound fascination with the red hunting cap he had brought. Everything he does, he does with the hunting cap on. Holden’s hunting cap is a garment used to protect him from the ice and snow of winter. When walking to the train station, Holden says that the “earlaps” of the cap had kept him “nice and warm”. However, this might not be the only protection that it offers. Holden’s red hunting cap could also symbolize protection of childhood naivete.

When Holden wears the hat to Central Park, chunks of ice still form on his hair, and when he stands in the rain watching Phoebe ride the carousel he states, “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway” . At this point, Holden begins to realize “that the cap… provides, at best, only a partial protection from the unexpected drenching”. Similarly, the hat cannot fully protect Holden from the inevitability of growing up and facing the adult world.

Answered on 06.06.2017.
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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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