Outer characterization

Phoebe is one of the most important characters in J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. She is Holden’s sister and is ten years old. Physically, she has red hair just like her late brother, Allie:

She has this sort of red hair, a little bit like Allie’s was, that’s very short in the summertime. In the summertime, she sticks it behind her ears. She has nice, pretty little ears. In the wintertime, it’s pretty long, though. Sometimes my mother braids it and sometimes she doesn’t. It’s really nice, though. (pp. 72-73)

Holden characterizes Phoebe as being “quite skinny (…) nice skinny (…) roller-skate skinny” (p. 73) and as being extremely smart. He remembers her wearing “white gloves” (p. 74) and acting “like a lady” (p. 74) on Sundays, during their walks to the park. Holden also thinks that Phoebe “can dance better than anybody living or dead” (p. 77). 

Inner characterization

For Holden, Phoebe is one of the few people that he likes, respects, or admires. Moreover, she i...

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