Holden & Pheobe Caulfield: a Real Relationship

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Alyssa Palumbo
Miss Pasqual
March 28, 2009
CITR Constructed Response: Chapter 23

Holden Caulfield, the main character from J.D. Salinger’s book The Catcher in

the Rye, holds a different relationship with his sister Phoebe than any other character in

the book. With his cynical perspective on life, Holden finds it hard to connect with

people. Throughout the novel, one can see that Holden is desperately trying to find

someone who can understand him. He sees Phoebe as the only person he can go to that

will not judge him; one could say that she’s his rock. She’s the only person that he

doesn’t think is “phony,” either. For example, at the beginning of Chapter 23, there is a

scene where Holden asks his sister to dance. “‘C’mon,’ I said. ‘You feel like dancing?’ I

taught her how to dance and all when she was a tiny little kid. She’s a very good dancer. I

mean I just taught her a few things. She learned it mostly by herself. You can’t teach

somebody how to really dance.” (175) From reading that excerpt, one can see that

Holden thinks highly of his little sister. He goes on to say that even though little kids look

terrible when they dance, but with Phoebe it’s different. She’s honest about everything,

and she’s never fake with him, or with anyone, for that matter. However, with society,

Holden seems to think that everyone is phony, or fake. They do not accept him, most

likely because they do not understand his cynical view on things, but because Phoebe

does understand him, she is the only one he can maintain a stable relationship with.

Therefore, Holden’s relationship with Phoebe is much more real than others.
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