"She was ostracizing the hell out of me," Holden says. "Just like the fencing
team at Pencey when I left all the goddam foils on the subway."
This reference brings you back to the very beginning of the story, the fifth
paragraph of the novel, when he talked about the fencing foils. Maybe it's an
indication that Holden has come full circle, that he hasn't accomplished
anything, that he's right back where he started. There's
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about Pencey; in fact, he's complaining about the world.
Phoebe really becomes the adult character when she presses him to name
something he really likes. She won't accept either of the answers he gives,
and she presses the issue by asking him what he wants to be.
Holden's response contains the source of the book's title. He wants to be the
catcher in the rye because he wants to prevent small children from getting