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Catcher In the Rye Ch 8

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Michael Chen

on 12 June 2013

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Transcript of Catcher In the Rye Ch 8

Chapter 8 Catcher In the Rye Summary Holden walks the entire way to the train station and catches a late train to New York. At Trenton, an attractive older woman gets on and sits next to him.
She turns out to be the mother of his classmate, Ernest Morrow, someone Holden dislikes.
Holden tells extravagant lies about Ernest to his mother, claiming that he is the most popular boy on campus and would have been elected class president if he’d let the other boys nominate him. Significance of the Chapter In Chapter 8, Holden re-enforces his earlier claim that he is an excellent liar, as his conversation with Mrs. Morrow contains nothing but falsehoods. He tells Mrs. Morrow exactly what she wants to hear about her son, humoring her own sense of vanity and self-absorption by making her believe that her son, whom Holden loathes, is one of the most honorable and decent students at Pencey.
These lies reveal the complete contempt that Holden holds for Mrs. Morrow and, by extension, all authority figures. He lies in order to mock Mrs. Morrow's sense of delusion while relishing the false view that she has of her son. Holden claims a sense of superiority over Mrs. Morrow, for he believes that he can see clearly Ernest Morrow's personality, while she has a false, idealized portrait of her son. Characterization This chapter is indicative of Holden's state of mind. He takes a trait that demonstrates a typical teenage immaturity, in this case lying and flattering adults, and moves it to an unbearable extreme; his lies become more shameless and outlandish, revealing the disturbing disconnect between Holden's psyche and reality. His constant lying demonstrates that he wishes to start afresh and start a new life. For example, he lies about his name and calls himself Rudolph Schmidt, implying that he is seeking a new identity. Theme Literary Devices Holden tells her his own name is Rudolph Schmidt, which is actually the school janitor’s name. When she asks why he is leaving Pencey early, Holden claims to be returning to New York for a brain tumor operation.
The woman goes back to reading Vogue, but before they part ways, she invites Holden to come visit her son Ernest in Massachusetts sometime during the summer. He politely replies that this summer he is going to South America with his grandmother. Summary 2 Holden: Characterization Mrs. Morrow: Mrs. Morrow is also a rare mother figure. To the reader she may come off a bit vain in her eagerness to accept the news of her son's success. Yet her genuine concern for her son, Ernest, as being too sensitive and having trouble fitting in, shadows what the reader would assume Holden's mother might think. This perhaps indicates that Holden's problems are not unique but that he is not dealing with them particularly well. The Phoniness of the Adult World & Lying/ Deception In the beginning of the chapter, Holden comments on "dumb stories" in magazines that depicted picture perfect people that are actually just fake "phony" people. Holden mocks the phony society by creating phony stories of how great Ernest Morrow is and lies about his own name, illness, and relatives to please Mrs. Morrow, implying that adults have a twisted and phony view on the world and will believe lies that will make them happy. Hyperbole Metaphor "Her son was doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, in the whold crumby history of the school" (54). "Sensitive. That killed me" (55). "They don't just stay a rat while they're a kid. They stay a rat their whole life" (57). "Women kill me. They really do" (54).
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