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Ms.

Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

Holden exhibits several instances of irrational behavior. Look up these instances in the book
and explain why Holden chooses the courses of action that he does. Make sure your answers
are clear and complete.

Holden calls Sally instead of Jane; when he does call Jane, he calls several times but does not
speak to her.

Holden complains about Sally, and then says he loves her, wants to marry her, etc.

Holden treks across the park to go to the Museum of Natural History, but doesn’t want to go
into the museum when he gets there.

Hates going to the movies and then goes to see one when he’s depressed.

What other instances of irrational behavior did you see in these chapters?
Ms. Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

Holden exhibits several instances of irrational behavior, the main ones being his date with
Sally, especially after the ice-skating. Create a time line for the date as though you were
watching it in a movie. Pay close attention to the conversation Holden and Sally have after ice-
skating while answering the following questions. Make sure your answers are clear and
complete.

TIMELINE:

What does Holden want from Sally on a literal level? (What is he actually asking her to do?)

What does Holden want from Sally on a figurative level? (why is he asking her to do this?)

What is Sally’s reaction? Why does she react this way?

What about Holden’s behavior might lead Sally to think he’s crazy?
Ms. Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

During these chapters, J.D. Saligner makes use of several symbols. Find these symbols in the
book (note a page number) and speculate what they may stand for. Also answer any questions
that are asked with them. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.

His, his rommate’s and the nun’s suitcases Page number: ________
Symbolic meaning:

The nuns Page number: ________


Symbolic meaning:

The Museum of Natural History Page number: ________


Symbolic meaning:

His interaction with kids in the park Page number: ________


Symbolic meaning:

The hunting hat (Focus on the one time we see it in these chapters.) Page number: _______
Symbolic meaning:

The drummer at Radio City Music Hall Page number: _______


Symbolic meaning:
Ms. Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

Several times throughout these chapters, Holden makes small comments that mean a great
deal. Re-read the sections these quotes are taken from and explain their significance to the
plot, to Holden, or to Holden’s mental state. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.

Referring to Sally: “She gave me a pain in the ass, but she was very good looking.” Pg. 106

Referring to seeing the family with the kid walking in the gutter singing “If a body meet a body
coming through the rye”: “It made me feel not so depressed anymore.” Pg. 115

Referring to the Museum of Natural History: “I get very happy when I think about it.” Pg. 119-
120 (keep reading)

Referring to his life while on his date with Sally: “Do you ever get fed up?” pg. 130

Sally referring to Holden’s plans: “You can’t just do something like that.” Pg. 132

Referring to himself: “I swear to God I’m a madman.”

Several times throughout his date with Sally: “I meant it when I said it.”
Ms. Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

As we’ve discussed in class, sometimes a simple, small looking action or interaction can mean
more. Take a look at these situations and explain the significance or symbolic meaning they
may have as a whole. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.

Holden and the nun’s discussion of Romeo and Juliet. What does he say about the nuns?
Think about his view of adults and organized religion.

Buying Phoebe the record and wanting to give it to her. How does it make Holden feel? What
might this tell us?

The family walking with the child in the gutter, and the child singing “If a body meet a body
comin’ through the rye.” BIG SYMBOL HERE!! Title of the book, a child and not being on the
sidewalk. Why does this make Holden feel not so depressed anymore?

Searching for Phoebe in the park. Why is it so important? Think about all the things he runs
into and the ending outcome.

Sally’s interactions with George (the man at the matinee) How does Holden feel about this guy
and Sally’s interactions with him?
Ms. Schultz
Contemporary Literature

The Catcher in the Rye


Chapters 15-18

Re-read the sections where Holden gives us his views on the following ideas. Summarize
briefly, noting what made him feel that way and why he might feel that way. Make sure your
answers are clear and complete.

Holden’s views on money

Holden’s view of actors

Holden’s views on war

Holden’s view of being an adult (esp. an adult male)

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