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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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CHAPTER 26

The Catcher in the Rye has much in common with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One of the similarities is in their final chapters.

Huck closes by saying that if he had known how much trouble it would be to write a book, he never would have tried it. At the end of the story he's dissatisfied, as though the telling didn't accomplish much.

Holden seems to be echoing Huck's sentiment. "I'm sorry I told so many people about it," he says. "...Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

Chapter 25 ended with Holden apparently having resolved his fear of seeing his loved ones change and grow. That's certainly a positive sign. But in the closing chapter, Holden says things that remind us of other aspects of his emotional problem.

We saw him constantly having trouble communicating with people. Now that he's told his story, he says he thinks the telling was pointless. That isn't a good sign.

We saw that Holden had trouble fitting into the world he lived in, especially in school. Now he tells us he has no idea how he's going to "apply" himself when he returns to school.


We saw that he tends to minimize serious problems, probably in an attempt to keep from having to face them. Now when D. B. asks him what he thinks about what has happened, he says he doesn't know. He still isn't ready to seriously analyze what's bothering him.

To the question, "Has Holden changed?" the answer would seem to be, "Well, yes and no." His realization that Phoebe will grow up is a big step for him. His tempering of the daydream to leave the world he knows is a sign that he may be ready to try adapting to that world.

On the other hand, he still can't see any value in communicating with people, he still anticipates trouble in school, and he still won't face his problems.

What has happened to Holden? And what will happen to him in the near future? In the distant future? As a careful reader of the novel, you're as qualified to answer those questions as anyone else.

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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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