The Catcher in the Rye

Holden's former English teacher from Elkton Hills, Holden’s old school. Mr. Antolini is now an instructor at New York University. Mr. Antolini is one of the few adults Holden respects, and one of the few who is willing to engage with Holden without letting him get away with any of his usual tricks of evasion. When Holden needs a place to stay on his last night of roaming New York City, he calls Mr. Antolini, and though it’s quite late, Mr. Antolini tells him to come over as soon as he wants. When he arrives, he sees that Mr. Antolini and his wife, Mrs. Antolini, have just finished having a party. Mr. Antolini is a bit tipsy, but this doesn’t stop him from sitting down with Holden and talking to him about his expulsion from Pencey. Before long, he begins to lecture Holden, but what he says differs from the standard advice that people like Mr. Spencer have already imparted to him. Instead of talking about Holden’s repeated failures, Mr. Antolini says that he’s worried about Holden because he thinks he’s headed for a life of disillusionment and bitterness. Not wanting the young man to continue closing himself off to life’s many wonderful possibilities, he urges Holden to drop his cynicism, saying that such pessimistic mindsets aren’t worth clinging to in life. Rather than dooming himself to a miserable existence or self-destruction, Mr. Antolini tells Holden that he should instead make an active effort to better himself. Unfortunately, though, Mr. Antolini ruins his sound advice by later stroking Holden’s head while the boy sleeps on his couch. Holden wakes up to find his former teacher standing before him and touching his brow, prompting him to jump up and leave as fast as he can, thinking that Mr. Antolini is a “pervert.” Of course, it’s never clear whether or not Mr. Antolini’s actions were sexually motivated, but it is clear that his behavior was inappropriate. At the very least, his strange affection has the negative effect of forcing Holden to second-guess their relationship and, thus, everything Mr. Antolini has told him.

Mr. Antolini Quotes in The Catcher in the Rye

The The Catcher in the Rye quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Antolini or refer to Mr. Antolini. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Phoniness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown edition of The Catcher in the Rye published in 2001.
Chapter 24 Quotes

This fall I think you’re riding for—it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking.

Related Characters: Mr. Antolini (speaker), Holden Caulfield
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Catcher in the Rye quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score…Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to.

Related Characters: Mr. Antolini (speaker), Holden Caulfield
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Catcher in the Rye LitChart as a printable PDF.
The catcher in the rye.pdf.medium

Mr. Antolini Character Timeline in The Catcher in the Rye

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Antolini appears in The Catcher in the Rye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...is that he only has three people in his address book: Jane, a teacher named Mr. Antolini who used to teach at Elkton Hills, and his father’s work number. Instead of calling... (full context)
Chapter 22
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...parents think. With this, he decides to call his former English teacher at Elkton Hills, Mr. Antolini . Telling Phoebe to stay awake, he goes to the living room and picks up... (full context)
Chapter 23
Phoniness Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Holden calls Mr. Antolini , who tells him he can come over right away if he wants, though he’s... (full context)
Chapter 24
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
When Holden arrives at Mr. Antolini ’s apartment, he sees that Mr. Antolini and his wife have just had a party.... (full context)
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mr. Antolini questions Holden about his expulsion, saying that he hopes he didn’t fail English. Holden assures... (full context)
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Mr. Antolini tells Holden that he had lunch with his father recently. This apparently took place shortly... (full context)
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Mr. Antolini elaborates on his ideas, telling Holden that he can envision him dying “nobly” for some... (full context)
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Unlike Holden, Mr. Antolini shows no signs of being tired. Continuing his lecture, he says he suspects that Holden... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
As Mr. Antolini holds forth with his advice, Holden accidentally yawns. He immediately feels rude for doing this,... (full context)
Chapter 25
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...begin to populate the building during the morning commute hours. In retrospect, he wonders if Mr. Antolini was actually acting inappropriately toward him, or if he perhaps overreacted. Maybe, he thinks, Mr.... (full context)