The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 21
- Characterize Phoebe.
- In what ways does Phoebe seem older than Holden? Who is more in touch with reality, Holden or Phoebe? Defend your answer.
- Why isn’t Holden recognized when he goes to his family’s apartment?
- Where does Holden find Phoebe sleeping?
- Why does Phoebe become so angry with Holden?
Holden’s 10-year-old sister, Phoebe, is bright, pretty, mature beyond her years, sane, and his most trusted link to family. She is successful in school, her best course being spelling. She is the one who corrects Holden concerning the words to the Robert Burns poem that is the source of the novel’s title. In her spare time, she writes fiction featuring a girl detective, an orphan named Hazle Weatherfield. Phoebe later adopts “Weatherfield” as her own middle name. She likes elephants and has red ones on her blue pajamas. She studies belching with a friend named Phyllis; her best friend, Alice, is teaching Phoebe to induce a fever artificially by crossing her legs, holding her breath, and thinking of something very hot.
For her part, Phoebe sometimes sees right through her brother. She realizes early in his visit that he has been expelled from Pencey. On the other hand, some of Holden’s darker thoughts are beyond her. She can’t fathom why he is so self-destructive or why he doesn’t just succeed in school the way she does. When he bares his soul to tell her of his dream of being “the catcher in the rye,” she is quiet for a long time but then simply states, in reference to his expulsion, “Daddy’s going to kill you,” illustrating that despite their great friendship and connection, Phoebe is still only 10 years old and cannot be expected to understand the true meaning of Holden’s words.
In what ways does Phoebe seem older than Holden? Who is more in touch with reality, Holden or Phoebe? Defend your answer.
Phoebe is Holden’s ten-year-old sister, whom he loves dearly. Although she is six years younger than Holden, she listens to what he says and understands him more than most other people do. Phoebe is intelligent, neat, and a wonderful dancer, and her childish innocence is one of Holden’s only consistent sources of happiness throughout the novel. At times, she exhibits great maturity and even chastises Holden for his immaturity. Like Mr. Antolini, Phoebe seems to recognize that Holden is his own worst enemy.
Why isn’t Holden recognized when he goes to his family’s apartment?
Holden takes the elevator up to his family’s apartment. Luckily for him, the regular elevator operator is gone, and he is able to convince the new one, who doesn’t recognize him, that he wants to visit the Dicksteins, who live across the hall from the Caulfields.
Where does Holden find Phoebe sleeping?
Holden wants to visit Phoebe at the family apartment, in the middle of the night, without his parents’ knowledge. Fortunately, there is a new elevator operator on duty who does not recognize him. Holden pretends to be visiting the Dicksteins who have an apartment on the same floor as his parents. Using his key to enter, Holden sneaks to Phoebe’s room only to realize that she now is sleeping in D.B.’s room because he is away in Hollywood; she likes the huge desk and bed. Holden peruses items on her desk, by lamplight, until he wakes Phoebe.
Why does Phoebe become so angry with Holden?
Phoebe’s significance in the novel is crucial. Despite her youth, she sometimes seems to be Holden’s best friend. He can confide in her and share his dreams. Like a real friend, she does not always agree. She often sees right through her brother, detecting early on that he has been kicked out of Pencey Prep. Her advice frequently is superior to what Holden plans to do. Phoebe is also Holden’s most trusted connection to family and home.
On the other hand, when Holden wakes her (in Chapter 21) and she is overjoyed to see him. She is very bubbly and tells him everything that has happened to her. Suddenly she realizes that he is home earlier than he was expected and surmises that he was kicked out of school. She covers her head with her pillow and doesn’t want to talk to Holden anymore. She has trouble understanding Holden’s darker side. She wonders why he is so self-destructive and why he doesn’t just succeed in school the way she does. She may not quite grasp what he means by being the “catcher in the rye.”