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Catcher in the Rye

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Mrs. Morrow and Holden

CATCHR-YATD4G

Read the following excerpt.

She didn't look like any dope to me. She looked like she might have a pretty damn good idea what a bastard she was the mother of. The thing is, though, I liked old Morrow's mother. She was all right. She took a cigarette off me, and I gave her a light. She looked nice, smoking. She had a lot of charm. She had quite a lot of sex appeal, too, if you really want to know. She was looking at me sort of funny. 'I may be wrong but I believe your nose is bleeding, dear,' she said, all of a sudden. I nodded and took out my handkerchief. 'I got hit with a snowball,' I said... I probably would've told her what really happened, but it would've taken too long. I liked her, though. I was beginning to feel sort of sorry I'd told her my name was Rudolf Schmidt.

Of the following options, which answer BEST describes the thematic significance of Holden's interaction with Mrs. Morrow, as it fits into the larger context of the novel?

A

Holden's conversation with Mrs. Morrow reveals that Holden's confused, fearful attitude toward sex is also responsible for the difficulty he encounters when he attempts to connect with others. Notably, Holden says he finds Mrs. Morrow sexually appealing, then disengages suddenly from their conversation. The exchange between the two characters is the first time that two prominent themes of the story. Holden's inability to understand sex and Holden's isolation, are shown to be interrelated.

B

Holden's interaction with Mrs. Morrow is of particular significance because their repartee, although brief and prematurely truncated, indicates that Holden is, or at least can be, capable of forming connections with other people. The suggestion that Holden is actually able to relate to other people (but just feigns inability) is thematically relevant in the way that it is analogous to Holden's mistaken notion that his troubles stem not from his own behavior, but rather from the deficiencies of his external environment.

C

Holden's conversation with Mrs. Morrow reveals that his habit of lying is more serious than he has previously conveyed to the reader. This is significant both thematically and with regard to the plot, as it is a subtle foreshadowing of Holden's growing instability and eventual breakdown.

D

Holden's conversation with Mrs. Morrow illustrates how his sense of loneliness colors his ability to connect with people. Though Holden seems to like Mrs. Morrow, he withdraws from their exchange despite the fact that she could have been an opportunity for him to engage with someone in a real way. Within the larger context of the story, Holden's withdrawal is part of a deeper pattern: he wants to connect with people but can't, even when he is presented with good opportunities to do so.

E

Holden's inability to connect with Mrs. Morrow demonstrates his deeply-held his dislike of her son -- and all the other boys at his boarding school. The fact that he can abruptly curtail a pleasant conversation with a woman he finds attractive demonstrates how determined he is to stick to his ideals, misguided though they might be.