Week #4 (Passage Person): If You Have Love in Your Heart

The passage I chose was when Holden went to look for his sister Phoebe. He writes a note to her while sitting on the school stairs, intending to give it to the principal or someone who can deliver it to her. He ends up not going through with it– feeling sick and sitting back down.

All I wanted to do first was say good-by to old Phoebe. So all of a sudden, I ran like a madman across the street–I damn near got killed doing it, if you want to know the truth–and went in this stationery store and bought a pad and pencil. I figured I’d write her a note telling her where to meet me so I could say good-by to her and give her back her Christmas dough, and then I’d take the note up to her school and get somebody in the principal’s office to give it to her.

This is the most enthusiastic about seeing another person– Phoebe– Holden has ever been. He’s created this “I hate everybody” act, but here he is really shown to care for someone. Before giving the note to an old woman working in the principal’s office, Holden sees some profanity scrawled on the wall of the school, and worries about his sister or other children seeing it. It’s a moment of vulnerability for him, where the reader gets to see a bit of his true self beyond the depressed yet self-righteous character he’s created for himself.

– Vivienne K.


Week #3 (Passage Person): Holden’s Conflicts

The passage I chose is when Holden is on a date with an old friend named Sally. However, after they went ice skating, Holden got excited and basically asked her to run away with him. Sally, however, did not want any part in it and left, leaving Holden alone with his thoughts.

“The terrible part, though, is that i meant it when I asked her. That’s the terrible part. I swear to God I’m a madman.”

I thought this quote reveals how conflicted and out-of -this-world Holden really is. In the beginning of the chapter, Holden was explaining what a phony Sally was, and what she was like. It was pretty clear that Holden didn’t like her. Then he was talking about running away with her after an afternoon they spent together. Holden is conflicted about everything and he seems to bounce around along with his opinions.

Week #2 (Passage Person): Dancing Love

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The passage I chose starts off with Holden dancing with a blonde who he claims to be “a terrific dancer”. After they finish dancing he states “I was half in love with her by the time we sat down”. He barely even knew her and he was already “half in love”? This just proves that teenage boys do not fully understand love. I chose this passage because I believe that it truly captures the mind of young boys and how they view love. All Holden saw was her dancing skills and good looks; that isn’t love. Love is deeper than that. This passage captures the realistic teenage reaction to women and how immature the character really is.

-Autumn K.

Week #1 (Passage Person): Foreseen Consequences

Holden Caulfield, as stated previously, has flunked out of another school. He flunked 4 of his five classes, all except English. On pages 10-12, he is being reprimanded by his history teacher, Mr. Spencer. He asks Holden if he had opened the book at all that school year, to which Holden replies “Well, I sort of glanced through it a couple times,” (Salinger 11) so as not to hurt his feelings. Mr. Spencer then shows him one of his old essays about the ancient Egyptians, which is comprised of 5 sentences. Holden added a note at the bottom, which reads,

“Dear Mr. Spencer. That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can’t seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is all right with me if you flunk me as though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway. Respectfully yours, Holden Caulfield.”

Why is he so willing to not try to pass school, even though he knows his parents would be mad with him?

My group and I realized that it may have something to do with his mental stability as a result of his brother’s untimely death, and the reason his parents keep putting him back is due to their not being able to deal with it, and sort of just sending him off.

-Rafael C.