The question of whether Mr. Antolini really made a homosexual pass at Holden is much more complicated than Holden suggests. Holden just might be right. Antolini’s questions about Holden’s girlfriends and the facts that he calls him “handsome” as he tells him goodnight could be seen as him trying to make a move. But it seems more likely that Mr. Antolini’s actions were just a tipsy sign of affection for a student in pain, a student in which Mr. Antolini sensed insecurities and vulnerability. But, just like always, Holden is careless and firm in his interpretation of his teacher’s behavior, and, with that misguided evaluation, all of Holden’s trust and faith in Mr. Antolini was gone. Mr. Antolini is clearly a more complicated character than Holden makes him out to be.
The fact that Mr. Antolini is trying to prevent Holden from “a fall” is an example of Holden’s image of the “catcher in the rye.” But, Mr. Antolini is a different kind of catcher from the one Holden visualized, and the type of fall he describes is different from the one Holden imagines. Holden dreams about protecting children from adulthood and sexuality, but Mr. Antolini explains a scarier fall that will come if Holden refuses to grow up. Holden keeps an idealized view of childhood, and more simple view of adulthood, in order to justify his separation between him and society. He rejects affection because the difficulties of real-world relationships crush his simple-minded idea of