Phoebe's significance in the novel is crucial. Despite her youth, she sometimes seems to be Holden's best friend. He can confide in her and share his dreams. Like a real friend, she does not always agree. She often sees right through her brother, detecting early on that he has been kicked out of Pencey Prep. Her advice frequently is superior to what Holden plans to do. Phoebe is also Holden's most trusted connection to family and home. On the other hand, she has trouble understanding Holden's darker side. She wonders why he is so self-destructive and why he doesn't just succeed in school the way she does. She may not quite grasp what he means by being the "catcher in the rye."Phoebe is also a fascinating character in her own right. One way that Salinger shows this is through the indirect device of Holden's examination of all the "stuff" on her desk. In her arithmetic book,
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