The Catcher in the Rye † Final Socratic Seminar
1. Who is Holden Caulfield? How does he represent qualities of a comic hero?
Holden Caulfield is the main character of the story who has flaws throughout it. The decisions he makes as a person makes him a comic character because he’s young and goes through mistake after mistake. We forgive him anyways because we want to see him triumph in the end.
2. How does The Catcher in the Rye follow a comic pattern?
The hero (Holden) starts out of the story, making mistakes and wanting to be independent. Throughout the story however, it seems that the more he gets into his own mind, he starts criticizing others and not “fitting in” well with the crowd. We forgive him because he’s young and by the end, hopefully, he will learn.
3. What is the significance of Holden’s physical condition throughout the book? How does it progress or regress and what does this reveal about Holden?
He’s young, immature, and very self absorbed.
4. What is the significance of Holden’s decision to “never go home [or] to another school again” (198) in chapter 25? How does his new plan (204-205) reflect his values? How does it reflect his state of mind?
He says, “I’d go down to the Holland Tunnel and bum a ride, and then I’d bum another one, and another one….and in a few days, I’d be somewhere out West where it was pretty and sunny…I could get a job at a filling station somewhere, putting gas and oil in people’s cars…” he keeps going on and on with the idea of his imagination life.
5. How does Holden react to the profane graffiti in chapter 25? How is this significant? What does this show us about Holden?
Holden says in page 201, “It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them-all cockeyed, about it naturally-what it meant, and how they’d all think about it...