So Far: Chapters 1-6 Name three reasons why Stradlater annoys or upsets Holden (either Stradlater’s actions or characteristics). (3 points) What is the potential symbolic importance of Holden’s red hunting hat? (2 points) Allie’s baseball glove is one of the dominating symbols of the novel. What do we know about it so far? (2 points) How did Holden react when Allie died? (1 point) Name two things we know about Jane so far. (2 points) Name two things Holden does – one for Stradlater, one for Ackley – that shows he is a more decent person than his cynical veneer indicates. (2 points)
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 Themes and motifs • We will frame our reading and discussion within the following themes, motifs, etc: • Alienation as a form of self-protection • The pain of growing up • Phoniness • Relationships, sexuality • Loneliness • Symbols
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Alienation as a form of self-protection • It’s ironic that Holden doesn’t turn the microscope on himself (introspection): He may see that he and Ackley have much in common. • Pencey is not a healthy environment for Holden: Stradlater completely disses Holden’s essay about Allie’s baseball glove then later beats Holden up. Ackley is insensitive to Holden’s needs.
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Pain of growing up • Holden seems to fear growing older. Remember his physical description of Spencer. • Allie’s death weighs on Holden more than Holden lets on. Holden’s reaction to Allie’s death was violent and extreme: He smashed out the windows in the garage. He didn’t attend the funeral because he was hospitalized. (Holden also instantly recalls the exact day Allie died.) • Holden obviously revered his little brother, who sounds intelligent and unique. He kept Allie’s glove and took it to school with him.
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Phoniness • Holden hates “phonies.” He thinks D.B. has prostituted himself in Hollywood; he hates movies (although he apparently has seen a lot of them); Pencey seems populated by the very phonies Holden suppposedly despises, from the teachers to Stradlater. • Yet, Holden’s kindness toward these people shows through when he talks Brossard into letting Ackley come to the movies with them, and Holden agrees to write Stradlater’s essay for him.
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Relationships, sexuality • Jane obviously means a lot to Holden. He gets really nervous thinking that Stradlater (who doesn’t even get her name right) might make a move on her in the back seat of a car. (Remember, Stradlater seems to be pretty experienced at such things: He’s a “sexy guy.”)
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Loneliness • That Holden seeks Ackley’s company before Holden leaves Pencey shows how desperate Holden is for companionship.
Thoughts: Chapters 1-6 • Symbols • Holden’s red hunting hat: He pretends he doesn’t care what people think of his appearance (although there seems to be some insecurity over his height, weight, and gray hair), but he takes it off when he wants to downplay his uniqueness (at the football game; Spencer’s, etc.) • Allie’s baseball mitt: It’s left-handed, making it somewhat unique, like Allie. Holden keeps the glove to himself (although he shows it to Jane) – a symbol of innocence and childhood (in turn, represented by Allie).