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Chapter 1

Matt
Holden Caulfield is in a mental health resort in California. His older brother, D.B., who is a writer in Hollywood, comes to visit him occasionally. Holden tells the reader he wants to begin his story with the Saturday night before Christmas break, the day he learned he was going to be expelled from Pencey Prep, the latest in a list of schools he has hated attending. On that night, Holden watches the big football game vs. a rival school from the hill above, isolated from his peers. He makes it clear he dislikes Pencey Prep and most of the people at it. Holden does not stay for the whole game; instead, he crosses the road to go say goodbye to his history teacher, Mr. Spencer.
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Chapter 2

Matt
Holden goes into Mr. Spencer’s bedroom, where Mr. Spencer is laid up, suffering from the grippe. Mr. Spencer has learned that Holden is being expelled and gives him a speech about how life is a game that you need to play by the rules. Mr. Spencer also feels some guilt for flunking Holden so he reads Holden’s final paper aloud to him to show he had no other choice. The paper is only a few paragraphs long; at the bottom, Holden wrote a note telling Mr. Spencer to fail him if he wants. Holden then thinks about the ducks in Central Park and wonders where they go when the lagoon freezes over in the winter. Holden then tells Mr. Spencer about the phonies at his old high school. When he leaves, Mr. Spencer wishes him good luck, causing Holden to remark how he hates when people do that.
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Chapter 3

Matt
Holden goes back to his dorm room. His next door neighbor, Ackley, comes over, and Holden lists all of Ackley's disgusting grooming habits, like how he rarely, if ever, brushes his teeth. Ackley proceeds to bother Holden in a variety of ways until Holden’s roommate, Stradlater, comes in. Ackley can’t stand Stradlater so he soon leaves. Stradlater has left the football game early because he has a date that night. When he goes to the bathroom to shave, Holden follows behind.
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Chapter 4

Matt
The dorms are empty; everyone is still at the game. Holden sits on row of sinks and rants to the reader about Stradlater’s grooming habits. He calls Stradlater a secret slob and complains that he is Year Book handsome, meaning that when mothers look through your year book, they will point him out as being good looking. There is a sense that there is no one in the world is ever quite good enough for Holden. Stradlater asks Holden to write an English composition for him, the only guidelines being it be something descriptive. He suggests Holden write it about the room he grew up in or something like that. Holden then learns that Stradlater’s date tonight is with Jane Gallagher, someone Holden actually seems to like. He tells Stradlater about how he and Jane were neighbors and when they used to play checkers, she always kept her kings in the back row, refusing to move them. Stradlater and Holden go back to their dorm room, and after Stradlater leaves for his date, Ackley comes back over.
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Chapter 5

Matt
Holden and Ackley go to dinner with the other boys left on campus without dates. On the way back to the dorms, they horse around in the snow. Holden, Ackely and another student plan to go see a movie, but they end up just playing pinball at the burger place in town. When they get back to campus, Ackley tells Holden all about his sexual exploits, stories Holden is confident Ackley makes up, considering how they change every time. After Ackley leaves, Holden begins to write Stradlater’s compostion. He can’t focus on writing about a room so instead he writes about his younger brother Allie’s old baseball mitt, which Allie covered in poems so he would have something to read when he was bored in the field. Allie died when he was eleven from leukemia. Holden talks about how smart Allie was and how bright his red hair was. He also tells the reader that the night Allie died, he punched out all the windows in the garage and was then psychoanalyzed.
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Chapter 6

Matt
Stradlater comes back, right when Holden is wondering how the date is going with Jane. Stradlater reads the compostion Holden wrote and is not pleased. He tells Holden it’s this sort of thing--not being able to follow directions--that’s getting him kicked out of Pencey Prep. Holden, enraged, rips up the composition. He starts bugging Stradlater about what he did with Jane on his date. Holden is worried that Stradlater had sex with her. He keeps asking, but Stradlater won’t give him a real answer. Finally, Holden takes a swing at him, but doesn’t connect. Stradlater pins him to the ground. Holden calls him a moron and hounds him until Stradlater finally punches him in the face. Stradlater then goes to the bathroom, leaving a bleeding Holden behind. Holden takes a minute to compose himself, puts back on his red hunting cap, and goes into Ackley’s room next door.
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Chapter 7

Matt
Ackley asks what the fight was about. Holden tells him it was because he was defending Ackley to Stradlater. He asks Ackley if he can sleep in his roommate’s bed that night; Ackley says no, but Holden lies down in it anyways. He continues to mess with Ackley, teasing him by talking about nonsense. It’s then that Holden gets the idea to leave and spend a few nights in New York City before returning home to his apartment Wednesday night. That's when his parents will be expecting him to return from Pencey Prep for Christmas break. He thinks taking a few days in the city is a good idea, because he wants to give his parents a couple of days to calm down after they get the letter saying he’s been expelled. Holden packs lightly, taking the money his grandma gave him, and as he leaves, yells behind him, “Sleep tight, ya morons!”
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Chapter 8

Matt
Holden walks through the cold to the train station. His lip still hurts from Stradlater punching him. He gets on the train to New York City, and a woman ends up sitting next to him, even though most of the train is empty. It turns out she is the mother of one of Holden’s classmates at Pencey. Holden lies about his name and then lies about her son, telling her a story about how her son could have been class president except he was too modest to accept such a position. Holden asks the mother if she would join him for a drink in the bar car of the train, but she declines. As they part ways, Holden remarks how when he gets going, he just can’t stop lying.
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Chapter 9

Matt
Holden arrives at Penn Station in New York City and steps into a phone booth. He thinks about calling a handful of people, but comes up with reasons to not call any of them. During the taxi ride to the Edmont Hotel, he asks the cab driver what he thinks happens to the ducks in Central Park. The driver is not amused. Holden checks into his room and looking out his window, can see a man walking around in women’s clothing across the way. He also sees a man and a woman spitting water on each other’s faces. This leads Holden to say he was feeling horny. He calls up a burlesque stripper who knows his friend who goes to Princeton. He tries to get himself invited over to her apartment that night, but she declines because it's too late. When she asks if they could meet up tomorrow, Holden says that won’t work. Looking back on it now from California, he regrets not meeting her for cocktails.
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Chapter 10

Matt
Holden heads down to the hotel’s nightclub, The Lavender Room. He almost calls his younger sister, Phoebe, which leads him to tell the reader all about how smart and cute she is and how just about everything she does “just kills” him. The band at the Lavender Room isn’t very good, and the waiter there won’t let Holden order a drink. Holden sees three tourist girls at a table. He approaches them and proceeds to take turns dancing with all of them, even as he continues to make fun of them to the reader for being naïve. Despite how awful he seems to find them, when the girls get up to leave, Holden begs them to stay.
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Chapter 11

Matt
Holden finds himself thinking about Jane again. He tells the reader about how they met and how Jane is the only person Holden has ever shown Allie’s mitt. Holden also remembers a time when he and Jane were playing checkers out on her porch and it was raining. Her stepfather came out to ask for cigarettes and when he went back in, Jane started to cry. Holden asked her if her stepfather had molested her, but Jane never answered him. He then kissed her every place on her face but her mouth; this, he says, is the closest they ever got to necking. He keeps thinking about her date with Stradlater, and suddenly he finds the hotel too depressing. Holden decides to go to a music club called Ernie’s.
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Chapter 12

Matt
During the cab ride to Ernie’s, Holden again asks his cab driver about the ducks on the lagoon. This one is more willing to discuss the topic and lectures Holden on how the fish stay frozen in the water all winter. Holden asks the cab driver to get a drink with him, but the driver declines. Ernie’s is packed, but Holden doesn’t like the look of the crowd--all prep school kids and Ivy League students. He criticizes how Ernie plays piano because he thinks Ernie takes too much pleasure in all the unearned applause coming from these kids Holden thinks know nothing about music. Holden even considers going back to the hotel because Ernie’s is just so phony. He then runs into one of D.B.’s old girlfriends. When she invites him to sit with her and her Navy boyfriend, Holden tells her he is going to leave. After that, he feels he has to get out of Ernie's.
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Chapter 13

Matt

Holden walks the 41 blocks back to his hotel. In the elevator, the attendant, Maurice, offers to send a prostitute to Holden’s room. Holden agrees and once inside, freshens up. As he is doing this, he admits to the reader he is a virgin. When the prostitute, Sunny, comes in, she starts undressing. but Holden tells her he just wants to talk. He lies about having had an operation as an excuse for why he doesn’t want to have sex. Sunny says he owes her ten dollars, but Holden is adamant Maurice told him it would only cost five. Sunny finally gives up and leaves.

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Chapter 14

Matt

Holden sits around for a while, talking to Allie as if he was there. He remembers this one time he didn’t let Allie tag along on a summer day up in Maine. He goes to bed, but wakes up to a knocking at the door. Sunny and Maurice come in, demanding the extra five dollars they say Holden owes them. Holden refuses to pay up, claiming Maurice is trying to scam him. Sunny takes the money from his wallet that’s on the dresser, and Holden starts to cry. He continues yelling until Maurice punches him in the stomach. Once Maurice and Sunny leave, Holden pretends he has been shot in the stomach. He considers jumping out the window and committing suicide, but decides against it because he doesn’t want rubberneckers on the street to see him all gory.

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Chapter 15

Matt

Holden wakes up and thinks of calling Jane but doesn’t. He calls Sally Hayes instead, one of his old girlfriends. He describes her as being very pretty, but not very smart. Holden’s problem, he says, is that he starts out thinking all the girls he necks with are intelligent. He makes a date with Sally for later that afternoon and then checks out of the hotel. He puts his bags into a locker at Grand Central Station. He goes to eat breakfast and ends up sitting next to two nuns. Holden talks to them about a variety of subjects, including a discussion of Romeo and Juliet where Holden declares Mercutio to be his favorite character, and then he gives them a donation.

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rallahlou

Some questions you could have about this chapter. The answers go into chapter 16 of Catcher in the Rye as well.

1. Compare Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt with the nuns. Explain three differences that are implied by Holden’s comments.

Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt also do charity work just like the nuns, but unlike the nuns they do it for selfish reasons. They want people to know that they do charity, and they want to be recognized for it. Holden says that his aunt often does charity work like at the Red Cross, but that even when she is doing it, she is always nicely dressed and has lipstick on. He said that he couldn’t picture her dressed all in black with no lipstick, standing and waiting for someone to give her some money. Holden also talks about Sally’s mother and he says that’s that “the only way she could go around with a basket collecting dough would be if everybody kissed her ass for her when they made a contribution” (pg. 114). This shows that Sally’s mother is pretty shallow and does not like helping people without anything in return. Holden also says that she would get bored pretty fast, giver her basket to someone else and go to lunch in a fancy place.

 

2. Explain why Holden might want to get the record “Little Shirley Beans” for Phoebe?

Holden wants to get the “Little Shirley Beans” record for Phoebe because it is symbolic to him. He describes it as it being about “a little kid that wouldn’t go out of the house because two of her front teeth were out and she was ashamed to” (pg. 114). This kid had lost her front teeth, and her adult ones were replacing it. This shows that she was growing up and that she didn’t like it. This is similar to Holden’s situation as he does not want to grow up and become and adult. This record represents childhood, and he gives it to Phoebe, as he wants her to stay a child forever. The song in the record keeps on playing forever and never changes, just what Holden wants to be. A child that never grows, and he wants the same things for Phoebe.

 

3.Why might Holden be able to relate to the boy who is singing, “If a body catch a body – “? Explain two reasons?

The boy who was singing that song made Holden feel slightly better. "The cars zoomed by, brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him, and he kept on walking next to the curb and singing 'If a body catch a body coming through the rye.' It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more" (pg. 115). The parents of the boy did not pay attention to him, even though he was walking on the road instead of on the curb. This is similar to Holden’s parents as he feels like they were never really close, and that they never took care of him. The boy that is singing is also a child and he is very innocent, just what Holden loves in life. Seeing the little boy sing just for the fun of it made Holden feel good. “It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more” (pg. 115).

 

4a. What important things might the museum represent to Holden?

The museum represents to Holden something that never changes, even though time passes. Holden keeps saying that every time he comes to the museum it is the same, and that the people in the glass are doing the exact same things. This is appealing to Holden because he wishes he could stay the same and not change, just like the museum. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (pg. 122). Holden has this strong desire to keep everything the same, and it is possible in the museum.

 

4b. Why might the museum and the record represent similar things to Holden?

The record just like the museum does not change. Holden can listen to the record again and again, and keep on going to the museum and they will be exactly the same. They both represent this stagnancy that Holden wishes his life was like. If he could, he would have never grown up, and been like the statues in the museum that have never changed. "The best thing in that museum ... was that everything always stayed right where it was ... the only thing that'd be different was you" (pg. 124).

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rallahlou

Some questions you could have about this chapter. The answers go into chapter 16 of Catcher in the Rye as well.

1. Compare Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt with the nuns. Explain three differences that are implied by Holden’s comments.

Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt also do charity work just like the nuns, but unlike the nuns they do it for selfish reasons. They want people to know that they do charity, and they want to be recognized for it. Holden says that his aunt often does charity work like at the Red Cross, but that even when she is doing it, she is always nicely dressed and has lipstick on. He said that he couldn’t picture her dressed all in black with no lipstick, standing and waiting for someone to give her some money. Holden also talks about Sally’s mother and he says that’s that “the only way she could go around with a basket collecting dough would be if everybody kissed her ass for her when they made a contribution” (pg. 114). This shows that Sally’s mother is pretty shallow and does not like helping people without anything in return. Holden also says that she would get bored pretty fast, giver her basket to someone else and go to lunch in a fancy place.

 

2. Explain why Holden might want to get the record “Little Shirley Beans” for Phoebe?

Holden wants to get the “Little Shirley Beans” record for Phoebe because it is symbolic to him. He describes it as it being about “a little kid that wouldn’t go out of the house because two of her front teeth were out and she was ashamed to” (pg. 114). This kid had lost her front teeth, and her adult ones were replacing it. This shows that she was growing up and that she didn’t like it. This is similar to Holden’s situation as he does not want to grow up and become and adult. This record represents childhood, and he gives it to Phoebe, as he wants her to stay a child forever. The song in the record keeps on playing forever and never changes, just what Holden wants to be. A child that never grows, and he wants the same things for Phoebe.

 

3.Why might Holden be able to relate to the boy who is singing, “If a body catch a body – “? Explain two reasons?

The boy who was singing that song made Holden feel slightly better. "The cars zoomed by, brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him, and he kept on walking next to the curb and singing 'If a body catch a body coming through the rye.' It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more" (pg. 115). The parents of the boy did not pay attention to him, even though he was walking on the road instead of on the curb. This is similar to Holden’s parents as he feels like they were never really close, and that they never took care of him. The boy that is singing is also a child and he is very innocent, just what Holden loves in life. Seeing the little boy sing just for the fun of it made Holden feel good. “It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more” (pg. 115).

 

4a. What important things might the museum represent to Holden?

The museum represents to Holden something that never changes, even though time passes. Holden keeps saying that every time he comes to the museum it is the same, and that the people in the glass are doing the exact same things. This is appealing to Holden because he wishes he could stay the same and not change, just like the museum. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (pg. 122). Holden has this strong desire to keep everything the same, and it is possible in the museum.

 

4b. Why might the museum and the record represent similar things to Holden?

The record just like the museum does not change. Holden can listen to the record again and again, and keep on going to the museum and they will be exactly the same. They both represent this stagnancy that Holden wishes his life was like. If he could, he would have never grown up, and been like the statues in the museum that have never changed. "The best thing in that museum ... was that everything always stayed right where it was ... the only thing that'd be different was you" (pg. 124).

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rallahlou

Some questions you could have about this chapter. The answers go into chapter 16 of Catcher in the Rye as well.

1. Compare Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt with the nuns. Explain three differences that are implied by Holden’s comments.

Sally’s mother and Holden’s aunt also do charity work just like the nuns, but unlike the nuns they do it for selfish reasons. They want people to know that they do charity, and they want to be recognized for it. Holden says that his aunt often does charity work like at the Red Cross, but that even when she is doing it, she is always nicely dressed and has lipstick on. He said that he couldn’t picture her dressed all in black with no lipstick, standing and waiting for someone to give her some money. Holden also talks about Sally’s mother and he says that’s that “the only way she could go around with a basket collecting dough would be if everybody kissed her ass for her when they made a contribution” (pg. 114). This shows that Sally’s mother is pretty shallow and does not like helping people without anything in return. Holden also says that she would get bored pretty fast, giver her basket to someone else and go to lunch in a fancy place.

 

2. Explain why Holden might want to get the record “Little Shirley Beans” for Phoebe?

Holden wants to get the “Little Shirley Beans” record for Phoebe because it is symbolic to him. He describes it as it being about “a little kid that wouldn’t go out of the house because two of her front teeth were out and she was ashamed to” (pg. 114). This kid had lost her front teeth, and her adult ones were replacing it. This shows that she was growing up and that she didn’t like it. This is similar to Holden’s situation as he does not want to grow up and become and adult. This record represents childhood, and he gives it to Phoebe, as he wants her to stay a child forever. The song in the record keeps on playing forever and never changes, just what Holden wants to be. A child that never grows, and he wants the same things for Phoebe.

 

3.Why might Holden be able to relate to the boy who is singing, “If a body catch a body – “? Explain two reasons?

The boy who was singing that song made Holden feel slightly better. "The cars zoomed by, brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him, and he kept on walking next to the curb and singing 'If a body catch a body coming through the rye.' It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more" (pg. 115). The parents of the boy did not pay attention to him, even though he was walking on the road instead of on the curb. This is similar to Holden’s parents as he feels like they were never really close, and that they never took care of him. The boy that is singing is also a child and he is very innocent, just what Holden loves in life. Seeing the little boy sing just for the fun of it made Holden feel good. “It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more” (pg. 115).

 

4a. What important things might the museum represent to Holden?

The museum represents to Holden something that never changes, even though time passes. Holden keeps saying that every time he comes to the museum it is the same, and that the people in the glass are doing the exact same things. This is appealing to Holden because he wishes he could stay the same and not change, just like the museum. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (pg. 122). Holden has this strong desire to keep everything the same, and it is possible in the museum.

 

4b. Why might the museum and the record represent similar things to Holden?

The record just like the museum does not change. Holden can listen to the record again and again, and keep on going to the museum and they will be exactly the same. They both represent this stagnancy that Holden wishes his life was like. If he could, he would have never grown up, and been like the statues in the museum that have never changed. "The best thing in that museum ... was that everything always stayed right where it was ... the only thing that'd be different was you" (pg. 124).

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Chapter 16

Matt

Holden heads towards a music store to buy a record for Phoebe. On the way, he sees a family with a child who is singing, “If a body catch a body coming through the rye.” Holden thinks the boy has a nice voice. He buys the record for Phoebe and then decides to call Jane. He actually does it this time, but her mother picks up so he hangs up. He goes down to the ice rink at Central Park to look for Phoebe, but she isn’t there. Holden decides he wants to go to the Museum of Natural History. He tells the reader he likes museums because nothing inside changes; all the statues stay where they are. All that changes is you. But when Holden gets to the Museum doors, he no longer wants to go inside. He goes to meet Sally.

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Chapter 17

Matt

Holden waits in the lobby of Sally’s building. He notices and then categorizes all the types of girls there with him waiting for their dates. He and Sally kiss in the cab, and Holden tells her he loves her. Looking back, he knows that was a lie, but he swears he meant it when he said it. She tells him that she loves him, too. The show they go see isn’t too bad, but Holden doesn’t like that the actors know that they’re good. In the lobby after the first act, Sally runs into a phony guy she knows. They talk about the play, and it annoys Holden. By the end of the play, he tells the reader he sort of hates Sally. She invites him to go ice skating at Radio City. Afterwards, they go get a drink inside. Holden tells Sally all the reasons he hates New York and boarding school, focusing on how unauthentic they both are. He tells her that he is in bad shape and then asks her to run away with him. Sally tells Holden he is being unreasonable, which makes him so mad that he calls her a pain in the ass. She begins to cry. Holden offers to take her home, but she refuses. After a few minutes, he leaves her at the rink.

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Chapter 18

Matt

Holden thinks about calling Jane again but doesn’t. Instead, he calls Carl Luce, his old student advisor who now goes to Columbia. They agree to meet for drinks. To kill time, Holden goes to see the movies at Radio City Music Hall. He remembers how Allie and he used to move down front to watch the kettledrum player; Allie even wrote the musician a postcard one year when he and Holden were on vacation with their family. Holden then rants about the phonies he has to set next to at the movies. He talks about how D.B. was in the war and how that changed him. He tells the reader that if they ever drop another atomic bomb, he’ll sit on it as it falls.

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Chapter 19

Matt

Holden goes Wicker Bar to meet Carl. He tells the reader that at back at school Carl used to tell all the younger boys, including Holden, about his sexual exploits and that he used to always seem to know who was secretly gay. At the bar, Holden proceeds to hound Carl about his sex life, which does not go over well. Eventually, Carl leaves, citing Holden’s immaturity, even though Holden begs him to stay.

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Chapter 20

Matt

Now alone at the bar, Holden proceeds to get drunk. He pretends to have been shot in the guts again, this time it being a secret wound only he knows about. At the end of the night, he thinks about calling Jane, but doesn’t, calling Sally instead. Her grandma picks up, but eventually, Sally gets on the line and tells Holden to go to sleep. Holden goes into the bathroom to freshen up and then heads down to the park to see about the ducks on the lagoon for himself. He finds that the lake is not totally frozen, but he fears he is getting pneumonia. He imagines his own funeral and talks the times he has visited Allie’s grave. He decides then that he wants to go home.

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Chapter 21

Matt

He sneaks into his family’s apartment and finds Phoebe sleeping in what used to D.B.’s room. He quietly reads her notebook and takes great pleasure in its simplicity and honesty. He wakes her up, and they talk about the school play she is going to be in on Friday. However, Phoebe quickly figures out that Holden has been kicked out of school. She keeps telling him that Dad is going to kill him and then she refuses to look at him, putting her pillow over her head. Holden heads out of the room to get more cigarettes.

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Chapter 22

Matt

He comes back into the room and Phoebe no longer has a pillow over her head, but she still won’t look at him. She asks him why he got himself kicked out. Holden responds by explaining how much he hates these boarding schools and how phony they are. Phoebe asks him to think of one thing he likes, but all Holden can think of is James Castle, a boy he used to go to school with who committed suicide by jumping out a window. Holden tells Phoebe that he likes Allie, and he likes being here with her. She asks him what’s one thing he would like to be. In the passage that gives the book its title, Holden explains this fantasy he has, one that’s inspired by the song he heard the boy singing earlier about the bodies in the rye. In Holden’s fantasy, there are little children in a giant field and he is the only adult there. His job is to keep them from going over the edge of the cliff, making him the Catcher in the Rye. After telling Phoebe this, he goes out to call his old English teacher, Mr. Antolini.

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Chapter 23

Matt

Mr. Antolini tells Holden he can come over to his apartment whenever. Holden tells the reader Mr. Antolini is the best teacher he ever had; he was the only person who would go cover up James Castle after he jumped to his death. Phoebe turns on the radio, and Holden dances with her around her bedroom. Their parents come home; Holden puts the cigarette he was smoking and hides in the closet. Phoebe covers for him, saying the cigarette was hers. After his mother leaves the room, Holden gets ready to go. Phoebe gives him her Christmas money, which makes Holden start to cry. He leaves to go to Mr. Antolini’s apartment.

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Chapter 24

Matt

When Holden arrives, it’s clear Mr. and Mrs. Antolini have just had a party. Mr. Antolini and Holden discuss him getting expelled. Holden tells a story about his Oral Expression class and how everyone was supposed to yell “Digression” if someone went off-topic during their speech. He says there was one kid who got yelled at all the time because of this, but Holden really enjoyed his speeches, anyways. Antolini gives Holden a speech about the dangers of the cynical path he’s on. Antolini is getting drunker and drunker. Eventually, Holden gets too tired to hold his yawns in, and Antolini gets the hint, telling Holden to go to sleep on the couch. Holden falls asleep quickly, but wakes up to Antolini petting his head. Holden, shocked, leaves, telling Antolini he needs to check his bags in Grand Central Station as an excuse. He tells the reader this sort of thing has happened to him about twenty times since he was a kid.

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Chapter 25

Matt

With nowhere else to go, Holden sleeps in Grand Central station. In the morning, he walks up to 5th Avenue. He sees all the families out Christmas shopping, which reminds him of taking Phoebe shopping last year at this time and pranks they would play on the shoe salesmen. Suddenly, Holden finds himself worrying about disappearing each time he steps off the curb to cross the street. The only thing that makes him feel better is talking to Allie as he walks. Holden decides he is going to run away to the West Coast, but he wants to see Phoebe one more time before he leaves. He heads to her school and gives a note to an old lady in the office, telling Phoebe to meet him at the Museum of Natural History for lunch so he can say goodbye. At the school, he sees someone has written “Fuck You” on a wall, and the thought of children losing their innocence makes him angry. Holden then goes to the Museum. While waiting, he runs into two brothers who are cutting school. Holden acts as their tour guide, showing them the Egyptian section. There is another “Fuck You” written there, which just makes Holden even angrier. He goes to the bathroom and passes out.

When he comes to, he goes to the front door to wait for Phoebe. She shows up late and dragging a suitcase. She wants to go with him. Holden refuses and tells her to shut up, which makes her cry. To make her feel better, he offers to take her to the Central Park Zoo. She doesn’t respond so Holden starts walking that way. Eventually, Phoebe follows him, but on the other side of the street. When they get to the zoo, Holden takes her to ride on the carousel. After her first ride, she comes back and asks Holden if he will come home afterward this and he says he will. Holden makes Phoebe get back on for another ride. It begins to rain really hard, but he doesn’t move. He just watches Phoebe go round and round and begins to cry because he’s so happy.

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Chapter 26

Matt

Holden is now back in the present, writing from the mental health retreat in California where he started this story. He tells the reader he doesn’t know what the future will bring or if he will apply himself to his studies when he goes back to school. Holden tells the reader that D.B. comes out to visit him sometimes, and he once asked Holden what he learned after all that happened. To answer that question, Holden ends with the famous quote, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you’ll start missing everybody.”  

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