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How do Holden's encounters with Mr Antolini affect his attitude towards people and education in particular?

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Introduction

How do Holden's encounters with Mr Antolini affect his attitude towards people and education in particular? Studying extract from chapter 24 ('And I hate to tell you,' he said...but he wasn't any too goddam cool. Take my word.) To Holden, Mr. Antolini represents the only adult that is concerned for him. Holden takes a genuine interest in what Mr. Antolini has to say, even trying to stop himself from yawning, whilst he is speaking. There is a deep respect for his teacher's intelligence and Holden shows he can respect authority, by referring to him as Mr Antolini and not something else as he does with Mr Spencer, or 'old Spence'. We can see a small advance in maturity from Holden, in this particular extract, when he even realises his mistake, when interrupting Mr Antolini mid-sentence. '"Mr Vinsons," I said. He meant all the Mr Vinsons, not all the Mr Vineses. ...read more.

Middle

This is a recurring motif in the book, that is, once again his situation leaves him lonely, homeless, gradually more unstable, and in need of some emotional sympathy. Holden removes himself from the situation, as soon as the going gets tough. From another point of view, it is possible to sympathise with Holden, as Mr Antolini motives are not made clear. The whole situation is very unclear, which could make anyone nervous. From this, Holden's actions seem to be more rational. Holden makes Mr Antolini out to be a very stable, secure man, yet his constant drinking, whilst Holden is present could indicate that he is not as stable as previously thought. This may be a reason for Holden feeling comfortable around him. Mr Antolini manages not to alienate Holden, by being the most sympathetic of the adult characters in the book. Holden respects Mr Antolini's non-conforming attitude and unconventional methods. ...read more.

Conclusion

Holden's decline into insanity is further increased by this incident with Mr Antolini. Someone that Holden has trusted and looked to for guidance has stepped across the mark, has let him down. This for Holden is the final straw and he leaves in a hurry. Holden never blames his own actions; it is always the other person's fault. Salinger uses a literary technique in this particular chapter, which is also present in the rest of the book, but is significant in this chapter. It is the way that Holden describes his actions with a relative calm, which contrasts with the desperation of the actions themselves. Holden's change in politeness and respect is apparent when he is around Mr Antolini. He constantly tries to refrain from yawning and even notices his rudeness when he finally does yawn. 'Then all of a sudden, I yawned. What a rude bastard, but I couldn't help it.' This is an obvious change in maturity for Holden, but the change ceases when he leaves the apartment. ...read more.

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