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88 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
high voice
answered in anger or irriation
in a conceited way
study of religion and divinity
study of inherited traits
roof projection
Holden Caulfield
The protagonist and narrator of the novel, Holden is a sixteen-year-old junior who has just been expelled for academic failure from a school called Pencey Prep. Although he is intelligent and sensitive, Holden narrates in a cynical and jaded voice. He finds the hypocrisy and ugliness of the world around him almost unbearable, and through his cynicism he tries to protect himself from the pain and disappointment of the adult world. However, the criticisms that Holden aims at people around him are also aimed at himself. He is uncomfortable with his own weaknesses, and at times displays as much phoniness, meanness, and superficiality as anyone else in the book. As the novel opens, Holden stands poised on the cliff separating childhood from adulthood. His inability to successfully negotiate the chasm leaves him on the verge of emotional collapse.
Holden’s next-door neighbor in his dorm at Pencey Prep. Ackley is a pimply, insecure boy with terrible dental hygiene. He often barges into Holden’s room and acts completely oblivious to Holden’s hints that he should leave. Holden believes that Ackley makes up elaborate lies about his sexual experience.
Holden’s roommate at Pencey Prep. Stradlater is handsome, self-satisfied, and popular, but Holden calls him a “secret slob,” because he appears well groomed, but his toiletries, such as his razor, are disgustingly unclean. Stradlater is sexually active and quite experienced for a prep school student, which is why Holden also calls him a “sexy bastard.”
Jane Gallagher
A girl with whom Holden spent a lot of time one summer, when their families stayed in neighboring summer houses in Maine. Jane never actually appears in The Catcher in the Rye, but she is extremely important to Holden, because she is one of the few girls whom he both respects and finds attractive.
Phoebe Caulfield
Phoebe is Holden’s ten-year-old sister, whom he loves dearly. Although she is six years younger than Holden, she listens to what he says and understands him more than most other people do. Phoebe is intelligent, neat, and a wonderful dancer, and her childish innocence is one of Holden’s only consistent sources of happiness throughout the novel. At times, she exhibits great maturity and even chastises Holden for his immaturity. Like Mr. Antolini, Phoebe seems to recognize that Holden is his own worst enemy.
Allie Caulfield
Holden’s younger brother. Allie dies of leukemia three years before the start of the novel. Allie was a brilliant, friendly, red-headed boy—according to Holden, he was the smartest of the Caulfields. Holden is tormented by Allie’s death and carries around a baseball glove on which Allie used to write poems in green ink.
D.B. Caulfield
Holden’s older brother. D. B. wrote a volume of short stories that Holden admires very much, but Holden feels that D. B. prostitutes his talents by writing for Hollywood movies.
Sally Hayes
A very attractive girl whom Holden has known and dated for a long time. Though Sally is well read, Holden claims that she is “stupid,” although it is difficult to tell whether this judgment is based in reality or merely in Holden’s ambivalence about being sexually attracted to her. She is certainly more conventional than Holden in her tastes and manners.
Mr. Spencer
Holden’s history teacher at Pencey Prep, who unsuccessfully tries to shake Holden out of his academic apathy.
Carl Luce
A student at Columbia who was Holden’s student advisor at the Whooton School. Luce is three years older than Holden and has a great deal of sexual experience. At Whooton, he was a source of knowledge about sex for the younger boys, and Holden tries to get him to talk about sex at their meeting.
Mr. Antolini
Holden’s former English teacher at the Elkton Hills School. Mr. Antolini now teaches at New York University. He is young, clever, sympathetic, and likable, and Holden respects him. Holden sometimes finds him a bit too clever, but he looks to him for guidance. Like many characters in the novel, he drinks heavily.
The elevator operator at the Edmont Hotel, who procures a prostitute for Holden.
The prostitute Holden hires through Maurice. She is one of a number of women in the book with whom Holden clumsily attempts to connect.
Jing-Mei Woo
Jing-mei Woo is the newest member of the Joy Luck Club, having taken her mother Suyuan’s place after her death. The other members of the Joy Luck Club give her money to travel to China so that she can find her mother’s long-lost twin daughters, Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa, and tell them Suyuan’s story, but Jing-mei fears that she is not up to the task. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Suyuan Woo
Suyuan Woo was Jing-mei’s mother and the founder of the Joy Luck Club, a group of women who come together once weekly to play mahjong. She started the club in China, in the early days of her first marriage. During her flight from a war-torn area of China, Suyuan lost her twin daughters, Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa. In San Francisco, Suyuan revived the Joy Luck Club with Lindo, An-mei, and Ying-ying. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Suyuan Woo (In-Depth Analysis)
Canning Woo
Canning Woo is Suyuan’s second husband and father of her daughter Jing-mei. He met Suyuan in the hospital in Chungking, where she recovered from her flight from Kweilin. After Suyuan’s death, he travels to China with Jing-mei to meet her children.
Wang Chwun Yu and Wang Chwun Hwa Chwun
Yu and Chwun Hwa are Suyuan’s twin daughters by her first husband, Wang Fuchi; they are the half-sisters of Jing-mei. When an officer warned Suyuan to go to Chungking with her daughters to be with Wang Fuchi, Suyuan knew the Japanese were going to invade Kweilin. After many hardships and the onset of dysentery, Suyuan was forced to leave the twins by the side of the road, but Jing-mei and Canning are reunited with them at the end of the novel and tell them their mother’s story.
Lindo Jong
Lindo is a member of the Joy Luck Club. She teaches the power of invisible strength to her daughter Waverly, instilling in her the skills that contribute to Waverly’s talent in chess. She fears that in trying to give Waverly American opportunities, she may have undermined her daughter’s Chinese identity; Lindo also fears that she herself may have become too assimilated. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Waverly Jong
Waverly is the youngest of Lindo and Tin Jong’s children. She has always been a model of success, winning chess tournaments as a child and eventually building a lucrative career as an attorney. Jing-mei has always felt a rivalry with her, somewhat imposed by their competitive mothers. Much of Waverly’s talent in chess stemmed from her ability to hide her thoughts and channel invisible powers. Waverly fears what her mother will say about her white fiancé, Rich. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Tin Jong
Tin is Lindo’s second husband. He is the father of her three children: Vincent, Waverly, and Winston.
Vincent Jong
Vincent is Lindo and Tin Jong’s second child. When he received a secondhand chess set at a church-sponsored Christmas party, his sister Waverly discovered her interest and talent in chess.
Winston Jong
Winston was Lindo and Tin Jong first child. He was killed in a car accident at the age of sixteen.
Huang Tuan-yu
Tyan-yu was Lindo Jong’s first husband, in China. His mother was Huang Taitai. When Tyan-yu and Lindo were one and two, respectively, a matchmaker arranged for their marriage. Pampered and self-centered, Tyan-yu makes Lindo’s life extremely unpleasant when she comes to live with his family at the age of twelve. When Lindo is sixteen, they get married, but Tyan-yu remains very much a boy. He has no desire for Lindo, but he is too afraid to admit it.
Huang Taitai
Huang Taitai was Tyan-yu’s mother. When Lindo came to live in her household at the age of twelve, Taitai trained her to be the epitome of the obedient wife. Domineering and tyrannical, Taitai made Lindo’s life miserable and ignorantly blamed her for the fact that Lindo and Tyan-yu had no children.
Marvin Chen
Marvin was Waverly’s first husband and is the father of her daughter, Shoshana. Waverly’s mother Lindo was very critical of Marvin, always pointing out his faults. Soon Waverly could see nothing but his shortcomings, and consequently divorced him. Waverly fears that the same thing will happen when she marries Rich.
Shoshana Chen
Shoshana is Waverly’s four-year-old daughter. Waverly’s unconditional love for Shoshana teaches her about maternal devotion.
Lindo's mother
After Lindo was engaged at the age of two, Lindo’s mother began to talk about Lindo as if she were already her mother-in-law Huang Taitai’s daughter. Lindo knows that her mother did so only because she wanted to keep herself from feeling too attached to the daughter she loved so dearly but had already given away.
Rich Shields
Schields is Waverly’s white fiancé. Waverly wants to tell her mother Lindo about their engagement, but she is afraid that Lindo will criticize him to the point that she will be unable to see anything but his faults. Rich loves Waverly unconditionally, but Waverly fears that a bad first impression will unleash a flood of criticism from Lindo.
An-Mei Hsu
An-mei is one of the members of the Joy Luck Club. She has learned important lessons about the dangers of passivity and the necessity of speaking up for herself, but, she notes with pain, she has not passed on these lessons to her daughter Rose. Although she has lost most of her faith in God, An-mei maintains a certain faith in the human power of will and effort. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Rose Hsu
Rose is the youngest of An-mei and George Hsu’s three daughters. She married Ted Jordan, despite protests from both An-mei and Mrs. Jordan. She has always allowed Ted to make all the decisions, but when Ted asks her to take on some of the responsibility, Rose’s relationship with Ted disintegrates. An-mei helps Rose understand that she needs to assert herself. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Bind Hsu
Bing was the youngest of An-mei’s and George Hsu’s seven children. When Bing was four years old, the entire Hsu family took a trip to the beach, and Bing drowned. Rose, rather irrationally, blames herself for the death. An-mei had faith that God and her nengkan, or her belief in her power to control her fate, would help her find Bing, but the boy never turned up.
George Hsu
George is An-mei’s husband and Rose’s father.
An-Mei's mother
An-mei’s mother was a strong but sorrowful woman who, after being widowed while still young, was tricked into becoming the fourth wife of Wu Tsing. She went to live in his household in the city of Tientsin. When An-mei’s grandmother, Popo, dies, An-mei goes to live with her mother in the city. Eventually, An-mei’s mother commits suicide so that An-mei will not live a life of shame and unhappiness. An-mei’s mother teaches her daughter to sacrifice herself for her family, to swallow her tears, to mask her pain, and to beware of people who seem too kind or generous.
Popo was An-mei’s maternal grandmother. When An-mei’s mother married Wu Tsing, Popo disowned her. According to traditional Chinese values, it was a disgrace that her widowed daughter had not only remarried but had re-married as a third concubine. Five years after leaving, An-mei’s mother returned because Popo had fallen terminally ill and, according to superstitious healing methods, sliced off a piece of her flesh to put in a broth for Popo.
Wu Tsing
Wu Tsing was a wealthy Chinese merchant who took An-mei’s mother as his third concubine, or “Fourth Wife.” He was easily manipulated by Second Wife and was, at root, a coward. When An-mei’s mother commits suicide, he fears the vengeance of her ghost and thus promises to raise An-mei in wealth and status.
Second wife
Second Wife was Wu Tsing’s first concubine. She entirely dominates the household in Tientsin, providing an example of extreme female power in a patriarchal society. Yet hers is a cruel power: she is deceptive and manipulative. She banks on her husband’s fear of ghosts by faking suicides so that he will give her what she wants, and she trapped An-mei’s mother into marrying Wu Tsing so as to fulfill his wish for heirs without losing her authority. At first, Second Wife manipulates An-mei into liking her by giving her a pearl necklace, but An-mei’s mother shows An-mei the deceptiveness of appearances by shattering one of the “pearls” with her foot in order to prove that it is actually glass. An-mei repeats this action after her mother’s suicide, and Second Wife is the first figure against whom An-mei learns to assert her own strength.
Syaudi was the son of An-mei’s mother and her second husband, Wu-Tsing, but Second Wife took him as her own. An-mei learned that he was her brother through Yan Chang, her mother’s servant.
Ted Jordan
- Ted Jordan is Rose’s estranged husband. When they were dating, he made all the decisions. Later, he asks for a divorce and is surprised when Rose stands up for herself.
Ying Ying St. Clair
Ying-ying is a member of the Joy Luck Club. As a child, Ying-ying was headstrong and independent. Yet she slowly develops a fatalism and passivity; rarely speaking her mind, she allows her American husband, Clifford St. Clair, to translate incorrectly her feelings and thoughts. Once she realizes that her daughter Lena exhibits the same qualities in her own marriage, Ying-ying recognizes her weakness and resolves to tell Lena her story. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Lena St. Clair
Lena is the only child of Ying-ying and Clifford St. Clair. When she married Harold Livotny, Lena unwittingly began to follow Ying-ying’s passive example, believing herself incapable of control in her marriage and her career. See “Analysis of Major Characters.”
Clifford St. Clair
Clifford St. Clair is Ying-ying’s second husband. He never learned to speak Chinese fluently, and she never learned to speak English fluently. Clifford often puts words into his wife’s mouth.
Ying Ying's Amah
Ying-ying’s Amah was her childhood nursemaid. She loved Ying-ying as if she were her own child and tried to instill traditional Chinese feminine values in her—values that Ying-ying will later regret having adopted.
Harold Livotny
Harold is Lena St. Clair’s husband. Since the beginning of their relationship, he has insisted that they split the cost of everything they share. He says that keeping their finances separate makes their love purer. However, what he believes will keep them independent and equal in fact renders Lena rather powerless.
The Prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist. About thirty years old at the start of the play, Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming and disgust for his mother’s sexuality. A reflective and thoughtful young man who has studied at the University of Wittenberg, Hamlet is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts.
The King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, and the play’s antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling—his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere.
The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet’s mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth.
The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, a pompous, conniving old man. Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
Hamlet’s close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet’s death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet’s story.
Polonius’s daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius’s schemes to spy on Hamlet. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.
Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, a young man who spends much of the play in France. Passionate and quick to action, Laertes is clearly a foil for the reflective Hamlet.
- The young Prince of Norway, whose father the king (also named Fortinbras) was killed by Hamlet’s father (also named Hamlet). Now Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father’s honor, making him another foil for Prince Hamlet.
The Ghost
The specter of Hamlet’s recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. However, it is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Two slightly bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, who are summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior.
The foolish courtier who summons Hamlet to his duel with Laertes.
Voltimand and Cornelius
Courtiers whom Claudius sends to Norway to persuade the king to prevent Fortinbras from attacking.
Marcellus and Bernardo
The officers who first see the ghost walking the ramparts of Elsinore and who summon Horatio to witness it. Marcellus is present when Hamlet first encounters the ghost.
A soldier and guardsman at Elsinore.
Polonius’s servant, who is sent to France by Polonius to check up on and spy on Laertes.