The Catcher in the Rye ends ambiguously. The ambiguity is mostly because of the far-ranging time gap in between the book’s last 2 chapters. Chapter 25 concludes v Holden feeling happy as he watches Phoebe ride on the main Park carousel. That confesses, “I to be damn close to bawling, ns felt so damn happy.” yet Holden also admits he doesn’t understand why the feels therefore happy, or why he is on the brink of tears. Even so, his sense of relief ~ his long depression feel palpable. The chapter ends there. The next (and final) chapter starts with Holden abruptly cutting himself off: “That’s every I’m going come tell about.” that explains, “I could probably tell you what ns did after ns went home, and also how I acquired sick and all, and what institution I’m an alleged to walk to next fall, after ~ I obtain out that here, however I don’t feel like it.” In explaining what he doesn’t feel prefer telling united state about, Holden inadvertently allows us in top top what happened. However without much more details, we space left in the dark as to why Holden ended up in part unspecified facility in southern California.

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How you read the ending of The Catcher in the Rye depends on exactly how you translate the gap in between Chapters 25 and 26. One possible reading would take Holden at his word. This would entail believing the his delight at the end of chapter 25 is genuine and that this pleasure predicts one eventual, full recovery. Such a reading sees Holden shedding his cynicism around the world and also developing warmer feelings around other people. Holden suggests as much when in thing 26 he claims, “I kind of miss everybody ns told about.” If that is true the Holden has actually grown much less bitter by the finish of the book and also that he’s learned the worth of other people, climate he may prosper past his existing depressive slump and also go on to have actually a much more successful career at his new school and also in his life beyond. This analysis emphasizes a sense of optimism, if no outright happiness.

Another, more doubtful analysis would cast suspicion top top Holden’s optimism. End the food of the book his evaluations of other civilization have repeatedly proven inaccurate and also oversimplified. It appears likely, then, that Holden’s own self-evaluation would experience from a similar shortsightedness. Take, for example, the scene v Phoebe on the carousel, wherein Holden’s happiness boundaries on delirium. After his long and also laboring depressive spell, the suddenness of his emotionally breakthrough seems suspicious. Also suspicious is the apparent simplicity that his happiness. The fact that Holden is “damn close to bawling” says that his emotions are far more complicated than that understands. Together Holden himself repetitively admits in the novel’s last pages, he doesn’t really know what that feels or why.

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In his emotional immaturity, he may have reduced this intricacy to an overly simple label: “happiness.” If this is the case, climate it becomes more complicated for the reader to re-publishing in Holden’s optimism. Indeed, he may be just as troubled and also confused as ever.


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