The Catcher in the Rye ends ambiguously. The ambiguity is largely as a result of the considerable time gap between the book’s last two chapters. Chapter 25 concludes with Holden feeling happy as he watches Phoebe ride on the Central Park carousel. He confesses, “I was damn close to bawling, I felt so damn happy.” But Holden likewise admits he doesn’t know why he feels so happy, or why he’s on the brink of tears. Even so, his feeling of relief after his long depression feels palpable. The chapter ends there. The next (and final) chapter begins with Holden abruptly cutting himself off: “That’s all I’m going to tell about.” He explains, “I could most likely tell you what I did after I went residence, and just how I gained sick and all, and what institution I’m intended to go to next loss, after I gain out of right here, yet I don’t feel prefer it.” In explaining what he doesn’t feel favor informing us about, Holden inadvertently lets us in on what occurred. But without more details, we are left in the dark regarding why Holden ended up in some unspecified facility in southern California.

You are watching: Ending of catcher in the rye

How you check out the ending of The Catcher in the Rye relies on exactly how you analyze the gap between Chapters 25 and 26. One possible analysis would certainly take Holden at his word. This would certainly entail believing that his happiness at the end of Chapter 25 is actual and also that this happiness predicts an eventual, complete recovery. Such a reading sees Holden shedding his cynicism about the people and arising warmer feelings around other people. Holden suggests as a lot once in Chapter 26 he claims, “I sort of miss out on everybody I told about.” If it is true that Holden has grown less bitter by the finish of the book and also that he’s learned the worth of various other world, then he may thrive past his existing depressive slump and also go on to have actually an extra effective career at his brand-new institution and also in his life past. This reading emphasizes a sense of optimism, if not outideal happiness.

Anvarious other, more cynical reading would actors suspicion on Holden’s optimism. Over the course of the book his evaluations of various other civilization have actually repeatedly prcooktop inaccurate and also oversimplified. It seems most likely, then, that Holden’s own self-testimonial would suffer from a comparable shortsightedness. Take, for example, the scene via Phoebe on the carousel, where Holden’s happiness boundaries on delirium. After his lengthy and also laboring depressive spell, the suddenness of his emotional breakvia seems suspicious. Also suspicious is the evident simplicity of his happiness. The reality that Holden is “damn close to bawling” says that his emovements are much even more complicated than he understands. As Holden himself continuously admits in the novel’s final pages, he doesn’t really understand what he feels or why.

See more: What Does Btu Stand For In Texting ? Btu Definition

In his emotional immaturity, he might have diminished this intricacy to an overly straightforward label: “happiness.” If this is the instance, then it becomes more hard for the reader to share in Holden’s optimism. Indeed, he may be simply as troubled and confused as ever.

The Catcher in the Rye Literature Guide


Ace your assignments with our guide to The Catcher in the Rye!