S: Holden's Adventure
FC: Holden's Adventure | F*CK YOU! | "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody"
2: Pencey! | Pencey Prep | Pencey Prep | "Molding boys into splendid, clear thinking young men since 1888." | DIGRESSION! | Holden Caulfield | fourth school I've gone to." | "This is about the | "I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by." | "it's really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs." | Pencey Prep is a boarding school for boys located . in Agerstown, Pennsylvania that Holden was attending . . at the beginning of the novel. It is the fourth school Holden . has attended and is later the fourth school he is kicked out of . . . because of his poor academic performance. Pencey Prep is . . where the reader is able to get their first glance of Holden's . . . lonesome character and strong opinion of phonies. To Holden, . . Pencey represent a world full of phonies as he explains that the school . . was nothing but phonies, especially the principal. At Pencey Prep, the theme of “alienation as a form of self protection” arises as it becomes clear that Holden can not maintain a close relationship with anybody. Holden's alienation and distance towards others is made clear after he agrees to write an English composition for his roommate, Stradlater. The composition is about a baseball glove that used to belong to his younger brother, Allie who died from leukemia when Holden was only thirteen. After the death Holden never wanted to get close to another person so that he would never have to feel the pain of loosing someone he loved and cared about once again. Lastly, at Pencey Prep, we are introduced to another important character, Jane Gallagher; an old friend of Holden that is . going on a date with his “secret slob [and] Year Book handsome” (27) . roommate, Stradlater. Before leaving Pencey Prep Holden is . too afraid to go say hi to Jane in the lobby, in case she . was not the innocent, perfect girl he grew to love in the . past.
3: "Where do the ducks go in the winter?" | "does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away." | Central Park Lagoon | Central Park Lagoon | Throughout the novel Holden contemplates where the ducks from the Central Park lagoon go in the winter.They are a reoccurring thought for Holden and a major ambiguous symbol to the novel. Holden initially thinks about the ducks while talking to Mr. Spencer after being kicked out of Pencey. Here, the ducks are a symbol of Holden's anxiety and uncertainty regarding his next move after being kicked from Pencey. Much like the ducks who have been kicked from their home at the lagoon, Holden was kicked from Pencey Prep and had no place to go. Not having a clear answer to his question, Holden continues to wonder what happens to the ducks when the lagoon freezes over. Later, he asks a cab driver of his opinion to the question, but the cab driver disregards the question completely and explains that the fish have it harder then the ducks as they “get frozen right in one position for the whole winter.” (82) He explains that it is in their nature to soak up nutrients from seaweed in their pores, therefore nature takes care of the fish throughout the winter. In this case, the ducks represent Holden as he is being forced to move; however, Holden would much rather be like the fish who get to stay where they are and have everything provided for them like children. This mirrors the common theme of the novel and Holden's attitude towards growing up and wanting to stay an innocent child forever. Finally, Holden thinks about the ducks for the last time when he is drunk and decides to go searching for them in Central Park. At this point, Holden is in his worst state; he is depressed, anxious and even contemplating suicide. As Holden sees that the ducks have left for the winter he realizes that he must too migrate away from his childhood and fly into adulthood eventually. Over all Holden wants to know where the ducks go because he wants to know where to go when times are tough for him and things do not belong.
4: "It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye!" | "Daddy'll kill you!" | Bernice meet me at recess I have something very very important to tell you. What has our government done to make life easier for Alaskan eskimos? Look it up tomorrow!!! Phoebe Weatherfield Caulfield Phoebe Weatherfield Caulfield Phoebe Weatherfield Caulfield Phoebe W. Caulfield Please pass to Shirley!!!! Shirley you said you were sagitarius but your only taurus bring your skates when you come over to my house | Innocent | Innocent | PHOEBE | Phoebe Caulfield is Holden's nine year old, “roller-skate skinny” (67), red headed . little sister. To Holden, Phoebe is more like a saint then a sister; describing her as the most . beautiful, angelic, intelligent, mature and affectionate little girl you could ever meet. She is also very funny and has a good sense of humor, is a great dancer and a great listener too. Phoebe is one of the few characters who truly understands Holden for who he is and the extent of the struggles he faces on a daily basis. She loves Holden unconditionally and would do anything to help him. She fully understands the pain Holden is dealing with and just wants to be there to comfort and support him. In the end Phoebe is exactly the kind of person Holden has been “people hunting” for. He wanted to find someone to love that would love him back and was blindsided by the inevitability of growing up to see that what he was hunting for was right under his nose the whole time. In the novel, Holden decides to buy Phoebe a record she has been longing called "Little Shirley Beans". The record takes on a symbolic role representing childhood innocence. Holden desires to to give it to Phoebe because he wants her to stay innocence forever. The record will always play the same song over and over again and never change, just like Holden never wants Phoebe to change and wants to protect her innocence forever. Later Holden accidentally drops and breaks the record on the ground. This scenario symbolizes the fact that Holden can not keep Phoebe a child for ever because whether he likes it or not she has to grow up. Phoebe represent the kind of innocence Holden wants to protect from the corruptions of the phony world.
5: Holden's Red Hunting Hat | Holden's red hunting hat is one of the first symbols displayed in the novel. Holden bought the hat while he was on a trip to New York for his schools fencing team. Holden explained that he wore the hat with the peak facing the back of his head. This shows that Holden strives to be an individual, that he does not want to get lost in the land of phonies nor be compared to them in any way. Later Holden explains that “This is a people shooting hat,” (22) the hat is symbolic of Holden constantly people hunting, hunting to find love, innocence and acceptance while receiving unconditional love in return. After Phoebe lends Holden all of her Christmas savings Holden breaks out into tears. He finally came to realize that what he was hunting for was right under his nose the entire time. Phoebe was exactly what Holden was hunting for, someone to care, love and understand him for who he was. After this event, Holden decides to pass on the hat to Phoebe since his hunt was now over. In a turn of events Phoebe returned the hat back to Holden, teaching him that the hunt for love, acceptance and innocence will never end, it is a life long journey to find true happiness. Holden's red hunting hat is also a symbol of protection. While sitting in the rain watching Phoebe on the carousel Holden explains that, “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection.” (213) Holden always kept the hunting hat close to him at all times as it gave him the feeling of protection. After lending the hat to Phoebe Holden kept imagining himself falling between every curb he approached asking for help from his brother Allie. Over all, . without the hat Holden feels unprotected and vulnerable, . . he always puts on the hat when he seeks protection and . . . needs help getting through tough situations. | Holden's Red Hunting Hat
6: JANE | GALLAGHER | INNOCENT? | INNOCENT? | "Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row." | "She was terrific to hold hands with." | "Every time I got to the part about her out with Stradlater in that damn Ed Banky's car, it almost drove me crazy." | Jane Gallagher is a girl that Holden fell in love with while vacationing in Maine with his family. They were next door neighbors to each other and met because Jane's dog kept going onto Holden's yard. Jane is introduced into the novel when Holden's roommate, Stradlater had a date with her. This made Holden ecstatic as he remembered many things about Jane such as that she was a great ballet dancer, she used to keep her kings in the back row when they played checkers and that her mother remarried a “booze hound” (32) who walked around the house naked. Jane plays an important role in the novel because to Holden, she is the only perfect, innocent girl he knows and the only girl he both respects and thinks is attractive. Everything about Jane is innocent and perfect in Holden's eyes; the way she keeps her kings in the back row and how she is the perfect person to hold hands with. | But her innocence is questioned after learning that Stradlater might have given it to her on their date together. The fact that Jane might have lost her innocence kills Holden on the inside. Throughout the novel Holden is given many chances to meet and talk with Jane, but Holden always passes up every chance he gets in fear that she might not be the perfect, innocent girl he once knew and loved. Holden is afraid of change, that is why he is afraid to grow up and losing innocence. This fear Holden has acquired of change and growing up is clearly symbolized through the character of Jane as she is both the innocent girl Holden fell in love with and the new “grown up” Jane who lost her innocence that Holden is afraid to talk to. | JANE | GALLAGHER
7: F*CK YOU | Innocence | "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." | "If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible." | "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." | Catcher in the Rye | When Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to be when he grows up his response is that he wants to be the Catcher in the Rye. Holden decided this when he was walking along a sidewalk and saw a boy walking with his parents. The boy was not on the sidewalk, he was walking along the curb singing “If a body catch a body comin' through the rye.” (173) The boy is symbolic of Holden's present situation, he is walking directly in between the road and the sidewalk. The sidewalk represents childhood and the road, adulthood. This closely resembles Holden's struggle with being in between child hood and adulthood and not being able to make the transition into adulthood. Upon seeing this little boy on the curb singing about a catcher in the rye, Holden decided that was what he would like to be. Holden explains to Phoebe that he imagines himself in the field of rye watching over thousands of innocent children playing. Holden explains that he envisioned himself at the edge of a cliff, ready to catch any child that does not pay attention and falls over it. The children are symbolic of childhood, the field is symbolic of innocence and the cliff is symbolic of the fall from innocence . into adulthood. “That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye.” (173) Holden wants to be . there to protect the children from growing up, losing their innocence and suffering through the pains . that he is going through. However, after seeing the “Fuck You” 's scratched onto the wall and in . crayon Holden realizes it would be impossible to save the innocence of every child and seeing . Phoebe on the carousel, he comes to terms that growing up and losing innocence is inevitable.
8: "Somebody will sneak up and write 'Fuck You' right under your nose." | Innocence | FUCK YOU | "If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible." | While Holden was delivering his note for Phoebe to meet him at the museum, he noticed that somebody wrote “Fuck You” on the wall of the elementary school. This made Holden boil with anger because he knew when the innocent children would see it they would wonder what it meant and when they finally found out, they would lose their innocence forever. Holden decides to rub out the profound message on the wall before any children could see it. Later, as Holden was leaving the school he found that yet another person wrote “Fuck You” on the wall. This time it was un-washable as it was scratched directly into the wall. This made Holden come to realize that "If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible." (202) This is significant as Holden begins to realize that his dream of being the Catcher in the Rye would be an impossible job to complete. Finally, while Holden was alone in the mummy's tomb in the museum, he noticed that someone wrote “Fuck You” on the wall again... except this time it was written in crayon! This made Holden realize that no matter what, children will always lose their innocence eventually, and there is nothing he could do . . about it. These messages on the wall are also important because they are all written in places that . remind Holden of his own childhood, that used to make him feel happy, secure and . comfortable. Yet in Holden's world, this is not possible; everything has been corrupted by . vulgarities and there was really nothing Holden could do about it.“Fuck You” on the wall is . important to the story because it taught Holden the key theme of the novel, that “the . loss of innocence from childhood to adulthood is inevitable” and no matter what, . Holden would never be able to be the Catcher in the Rye. | "Fuck You"
9: Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay. | July 18, 1946 | "Allie, don’t let me disappear." | "I keep telling him to go home and get his bike and meet me in front of Bobby Fallon's house." | Allie Caulfield | Allie Caulfield is Holden's younger brother who died of leukemia while their family was in Maine on July 18, 1946. Holden was only thirteen at the time of the death and has idealized Allie ever since, describing him as the the most intellectual, admirable and humorous person you could have ever met. From Allie's death, the reader is able to witness first hand Holden's “madman” characteristics. The night after . the death, Holden spent the night in his garage where he . decided to smash all the windows, breaking his hand and earning him a night in the . hospital. Holden was extremely close with Allie as he represented the pure, . perfectly uncorrupted, innocence of a child that Holden longed for himself. To . Holden, it is unfathomable why such an innocent child such as Allie had to suffer . and die. Allie's death is most likely the root of Holden's problems and negativity . towards phonies, growing up and losing innocence. Holden's behavior and social . skills underwent a detrimental change following the death as well. He was no . longer capable of maintaining a close relationship with anybody in fear of . suffering through another loss. Allie represents the purity that Holden looks for . in the world and because of the death he was no longer truly able to love . without fear. Allie is represented through a baseball glove covered in . poems written in green ink that he used to write while playing baseball . Holden now treasures the glove and is one of his most sacred . possessions he has as it commemorates Allie's innocent soul.
10: Dreams | Goals | Ambitions | Hopes | Carousel in Central Park Zoo | "The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything." | J.D. Salinger uses the carousel in the Central Park Zoo as a metaphor to describe life. As Holden is watching Phoebe riding around on the horses trying to reach for the golden rings, he realizes that the carousel is symbolic of the circle of life. Holden watches as Phoebe attempts reach out and grab the golden rings as she spins around on the carousel. He even contemplates getting up and helping her, making sure she does not fall off and get hurt, but before doing so, Holden realizes that he must let Phoebe reach for the golden rings on her own. If she were to fall he must let her get back up and try again. In this case, the golden rings are symbolic of reaching for our goals, dreams and ambitions in life. Adults must allow their children to take chances at reaching for their own golden rings and not try to stop them. It is a part of life and growing up that can not be stopped or altered. As Holden watches Phoebe going around, rising up and sinking down he comes to terms that he can no longer try to be the Catcher in the Rye in attempts to protect the innocence of all children. The carousel helps Holden apprehend that life will always have its ups and downs, but in the end it will continue on in the circle of life and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Holden is truly happy watching Phoebe on the carousel because he finally realizes that everyone grows up and it is a necessary part of life.
11: FUCK YOU | American Museum of Natural History | "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you." | The Museum of Natural History is a museum that Holden used to enjoy visiting as a child. Holden explained that the best thing about the museum was the fact that “everything stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. . . . Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.” (121) This really depressed Holden, the fact that he was the only thing changing every time he revisited the museum; showing him that he was slowly but surly growing up. Holden explained that he wishes he could place certain parts of his own life into glass cases so they would never change (like Jane), and that the museum, in a way, represents Allie and Jane through Holden's eyes. The fact that nothing will ever change in the museum resembles Allie who will never get the chance to change, and the fact that Holden at first did not want to visit the museum in case it was different resembles Jane who will never change because Holden . refuses to visit her as well. Overall, the Museum of Natural History is a place where Holden . can come when he has a sense of nostalgia for his past. Since Holden associates his . childhood with happiness, and the Museum is the only place that has not changed since . his childhood, it has become a sanctuary for Holden to get away and relive his past. The . museum represents a non-changing world Holden wishes he could live in. The museum is also important, as it was where Holden learned that he . . . would never be able to be the catcher in the rye. While he was enjoying the . . peace in the mummies tomb, Holden saw that some child had written . “Fuck You” in crayon on the wall. This made Holden realize that . children will lose their innocence no matter what and that is just a . . part of life and growing up.