Holden’s interaction with Mr. Antolini, his former English teacher at Elkton Hills (p. 147), marks an important episode in J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. Mr. Antolini lives in New York, after he quit Elkton Hills, and “took this job teaching English at N. Y. U.” (p. 186).
Holden describes his former teacher as “a pretty young guy” (p. 188), “a pretty sophisticated guy” (p. 196), and “a pretty heavy drinker” (p. 196) who “smoked like a fiend” (p. 201). Mr. Antolini is married to an older woman.
Mr. Antolini is one of the few adults that Holden respects and looks up to. He claims that he is one of the few teachers that you could “kid around with (…) without losing your respect for him” (p. 188). Holden particularly respects him for stepping up when a former colleague at Elkton Hills committed suicide:
He was the one that finally picked up that boy that jumped out the window I told you about, James Castle. Old Mr. Antolini felt his pulse and all, and then he took off his coat and put it over James Castle and carried him all the way over to the infirmary. He didn't even give a damn if his coat got all bloody. (p. 188)
Mr. Antolini cares about Holden and accepts hosting him for the ni...