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Mr. Antolini

Mr. Antolini is the adult who comes closest to reaching Holden. He manages to avoid alienating Holden, and being labeled a “phony,” because he doesn’t behave conventionally. He doesn’t speak to Holden in the persona of a teacher or an authority figure, as Mr. Spencer does. He doesn’t object to Holden’s calling him in the middle of the night or to Holden’s being drunk or smoking. Moreover, by opening his door to Holden on the spur of the moment, he shows no reservations about exposing his private self, with his messy apartment, his older wife with her hair in curlers, and his own heavy drinking.

Mr. Antolini’s advice to Holden about why he should apply himself to his studies is also unconventional. He recognizes that Holden is different from other students, and he validates Holden’s suffering and confusion by suggesting that one day they may be worth writing about. He represents education not as a path of conformity but as a means for Holden to develop his unique voice and to find the ideas that are most appropriate to him.

When Mr. Antolini touches Holden’s forehead as he sleeps, he may overstep a boundary in his display of concern and affection. However, there is little evidence to suggest that he is making a sexual overture, as Holden thinks, and much evidence that Holden misinterprets his action. Holden indicates in Chapter 19 that he is extremely nervous around possible homosexuals and that he worries about suddenly becoming one. We also know that he has been thinking about sex constantly since leaving Pencey. Finally, this is not the only scene in which Holden recoils from a physical approach. He is made very uncomfortable when Sunny pulls off her dress and sits in his lap. Even when his beloved sister puts her arms around him, he remarks that she may be a little too affectionate sometimes.

Holden regrets his hasty judgment of Mr. Antolini, but this mistake is very important to him, because he finally starts to question his own practice of making snap judgments about people. Holden realizes that even if Mr. Antolini is gay, he can’t simply be dismissed as a “flit,” since he has also been kind and generous. Holden begins to acknowledge that Mr. Antolini is complex and that he has feelings.

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Rye

by DaveMacDonald, September 01, 2012

'The song “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” asks if it is wrong for two people to have a romantic encounter out in the fields, away from the public eye, even if they don’t plan to have a commitment to one another.'

I thought the 'Rye' referred to in Robert Burns' poem was the river Rye, hence the lines: 'Jenny's a wet poor body, Jenny's seldom dry'. In this regard it is about two people who meet at a river with no crossing, which will cause people to question why one of them is wet and what they have been doing.

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red hunting hat

by mitchellc0o, August 21, 2013

when phoebe gives the hat back I think It also symbolizes her not wanting to be caught or stay as a child or something

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Question!

by Kris1097, January 16, 2014

Through out the book Holden expresses many different feelings. but overall what is his attitude toward life?

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23 out of 45 people found this helpful

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The Catcher in the Rye

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