Allie in Catcher in the Rye: Character & Quotes

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  • 0:02 Allie
  • 0:29 Left-Handed Fielder's Mitt
  • 1:21 Allie's Death
  • 2:03 Unable to Move On
  • 2:49 Holden Asks for Allie's Help
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Ryan
Allie is the deceased younger brother of Holden Caufield in the J.D. Salinger novel, 'The Catcher in the Rye.' Even though Allie is no longer alive, he plays a significant role in the story told by Holden.

Allie

Allie, Holden's younger brother, died of leukemia when he was just eleven years old. Holden was thirteen at the time, and had to be hospitalized for breaking his hand while destroying every window in the garage. Allie's death causes Holden's descent into depression, where he hits rock bottom during the three days this novel takes place. In this lesson, we will learn more about Allie by looking at him through Holden's eyes.

Left-Handed Fielder's Mitt

The reader is first introduced to Allie when Holden's roommate, Stradlater, asks Holden to write a descriptive essay for him while Stradlater goes on a date with Jane Gallagher. Holden decides to write the essay about Allie's left-handed fielder's mitt. It had poems written all over it in green ink so that Allie would have something to read when he was in the field and no one was up to bat. Allie was a really smart guy and enjoyed reading. Holden keeps the mitt with him in his suitcase at Pencey Prep. While Holden would say that the reason he fought with Stradlater later that night is because Holden was being protective of Jane Gallagher, which is one of Holden's love interests, it did not help that Stradlater complained about the topic Holden chose for the paper. Holden did not really talk about Allie to anyone outside the family, except Jane, so Stradlater would not have known the meaning behind Allie's glove.

Allie's Death

Have you ever reflected back about someone who has passed, only remembering the good things? Either Allie was a really exceptional little kid or Holden remembers him that way. Allie died in July while the family was enjoying their summer home in Maine. His death occurred the year before Holden met Jane in Maine. According to Holden, Allie was the smartest and nicest person in the family. Everyone loved him, even his teachers.

Redheads have a reputation for having a temper, but not Allie. According to Holden, 'He never got mad at anybody.' Allie's sense of humor was well-developed. 'He used to laugh so hard at something he thought of at the dinner table that he just about fell off his chair,' remembers Holden.

Unable to Move On

Because of Holden's hospitalization, he was unable to attend Allie's funeral to say goodbye. He doesn't like going to the graveyard because he can't bring Allie in out of the rain. Holden has a hard time letting go. Phoebe, Holden and Allie's little sister, becomes worried about how jaded Holden has become since Allie's death.

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