Ch. 21-22 answers

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Chapter 21
1.
What does Holden find so intriguing about Phoebe's note- book?
He finds her notes (whether these are notes passed back and forth with a friend or notes on class
topics) to be very interesting and innocent. He also thinks it’s funny that she’s always changing
her middle name. She’s a child, so she can change things about herself with just a little
imagination, which is the opposite of what he sees the “rut” of adulthood to be.
Chapter 22
1.
Why did it depress Holden when an "old guy" told him that his days at Pencey were the happiest days of his
life?
He hated everything about Pencey, and he doesn’t seem to think it can get much better. Just like
everyone around him, this man enjoyed this time in his life, but Holden doesn’t get the point of it
all. If these are supposed to be the best days of his life, then how will the rest of his life turn out?
2.
What does it tell us about Holden when Phoebe states, "You don't like anything that's happening"?
He can’t even hide his cynicism from his little sister. It’s obvious by this point that Holden has been
having a hard time for awhile now. This lack of interest in anything is a classic sign of depression.
3.
Why does Holden think about James Castle when Phoebe asks him to name one thing that he likes
a lot? Why does he deny really knowing James?
When someone asks him about things he likes, he immediately thinks of someone who is dead or of
something that has nothing to do with the life that’s in front of him. James escaped his tormenters
by committing suicide. Although this is sad, Holden would see this as the ultimate act of integrity,
of someone standing up to the “phoniness” of their world.
4.
What does it tell us about Holden when he says, "Just because somebody's dead, you don't just stop liking
them, for God's sake---especially if they were a thousand times nicer than the people you know that're alive
and all"?
This goes back to how he feels about the museum – he wants to preserve the past and to keep
everything the same. Things have changed drastically in his world, but he has stubbornly tried to
hold on to old ways.
5. What does Holden tell Phoebe he'd like to be? Explain what you believe this says about his character.
Holden tells her he would like to catch kids from falling off a cliff while they’re playing ball in a
field of rye. This symbolizes Holden’s view on the world in general – he wasn’t able to save himself
from becoming a phony adult, but maybe he can save kids from “falling” into the corrupt adult
world.