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In chapter 16, Holden hears a six-year-old boy singing the Scottish folk song “Comin' Through the Rye.” Though the words actually are, “If a body meet a body...” the boy sings, “If a body catch a body comin' through the rye.”

With respect to how it affects Holden, why is the boy's mistake so significant?


When the boy says “catch a body,” Holden is reminded of Allie's baseball glove and becomes tremendously depressed.


As a kid, Holden used to make the same mistake when singing the song. The boy, however briefly, offers Holden a connection to his own childhood.


“Comin' Through the Rye” was a poem that Allie had written on his baseball glove; the boy's singing mistake is yet another reminder of the gap Allie's death left in Holden's life.


The boy's mistake while singing leads to Holden's vision of his purpose in life and ability to articulate his ideas about childhood.


Jane Gallagher used to hum the same song while she and Holden were playing checkers. The sensory-filled memory leaves Holden longing for Jane again.

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