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by J.D. Salinger

Teddy McArdle Timeline and Summary

  • Teddy stands on his father's Gladstone, the better to see out of the open porthole.
  • We learn that he is ten-years-old, underweight for his age, and has an arresting, beautiful face.
  • He tells his parents that they passed the Queen Mary that morning. He also reveals that some man, who heard one of his tapes, is on the ship with them.
  • We learn a bit about Teddy's unique qualities.
  • Teddy sticks his head out the porthole and comments on the orange peels floating by in the ocean.
  • He avoids plying his mother with physical affection before he leaves, at his father's request, to get the camera back from his sister.
  • Teddy meets Ensign Matthewson and asks her about the word game that will be taking place later that day.
  • Teddy finds his sister playing with Myron. He tells her to bring the camera back to their parents right away so he can go write in his diary.
  • Teddy makes his way to the sun deck and looks over his recent diary entry. He then begins his new entry. He makes the cryptic remark that alludes to his own death.
  • Teddy is interrupted by Bob Nicholson. They discuss poetry, which Teddy does not like, and emotions, which he thinks are unnecessary.
  • At Nicholson's prodding, Teddy discusses his previous life as a spiritual man in India.
  • Teddy explains to Nicholson how to get out of the finite dimensions. He discusses the apple of logic.
  • They move on to the topic of mortality. Teddy describes his own possible death in the swimming pool that afternoon.
  • Teddy discusses the teachers in Boston and the advice he gave them. He then explains to Bob what he would do with the education system, if he could.
  • Teddy leaves for his swimming lesson. Presumably, he dies when his sister pushes him into the pool, though some think there are other ways to interpret the ending.