Catcher in the Rye

Chapters 1 and 2

"I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. I'm quite a heavy smoker, for one thing—that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half inches last year. That's also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. I'm pretty healthy though" (Salinger 1.10).

Chapters 3 and 4

"I put on this hat that I had bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks" (Salinger 3.3).

Holden buys this hat in the subway just a couple moments after he had lost all the fencing equipment. Holden really enjoys the hat and thinks it looks very good. It is a very unique hat, and no one else wears such a hat. This hat might symbolize how Holden sets himself apart from everyone else, and how he is unique from everyone else. This develops throughout Chapters three and four.

Chapters 5 and 6

In the beginning of chapter five, Holden, Ackley and Mal Brossard, Holden's friend, go into town to eat hamburgers. After they get back to Pencey, Holden starts to work on the composition that Ward asked him to finish for him, but is not too elated in doing it. Holden ends up writing about his brother's baseball mitt, but does not make the composition too trenchant. At the beginning of chapter 6, Ward comes back from his date and reads the composition that Holden writes for him. He does not like it, and they end up fighting about that. Furthermore, Holden asks how his date went and Ward refuses to give any details and wants to keep the facts of his date clandestine. Holden starts to fight with him, and Ward tries to quell Holden's temper. Holden ends up getting a bloody nose, which Ward feels compunction for.

Holden wants to make sure that nothing happened to Jane that could make her lose her innocence, and wants to protect her innocence. This causes Holden to keep asking how the date went, and Holden gets mad when Ward refuses to tell him anything.

Chapters 7-13

Discussion Questions:

Chapter 7: How does Holden become annoyed with Ackley's phoniness? What does Ackley say?

Chapter 8: Why do you think Holden lies so much to the woman next to him while he is  sitting on the train?

Chapter 9: Why does Holden care about the ducks in the pond?

Chapter 10: Why do the girls in the nightclub make Holden feel depressed?

Chapter 11: Why do you think Jane get upset when Holden and Jane are playing checkers?

Chapter 12: Why is Holden so curious about the pond with the ducks?

Chapter 13: What do you think makes Holden a coward

Chapters 14-17

Discussion Questions:

Chapter 14: Why does Holden not include Allie in his BB gun game?

Chapter 15: Why do the nuns not ask Holden about his religion? Do you think that they are phony?

Chapter 16: Why do you think Holden wants to get the record for Phoebe?

Chapter 17: Why does Holden not enjoy the play?

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