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The Catcher In The Rye Essay, Research Paper
The Catcher in The Rye
The story is about Holden Caulfield, who is a boy who has just been kicked
out of school. He’s walking down a hill, were they are playing football.
He’s on his way to Mr. Spencer, an old teacher of his. It is cold and much
wind. It’s winter. So he rings the bell at Mr. Spencer’s house and his
wife opens the door for him and shows Holden where Mr. Spencer is.
So Holden comes in and sits on Mr. Spencer’s very hard bed. Mr. Spencer
asks him a lot about what subjects he’s failed last term. Holden tells him
he didn’t fail English, but that was only because they had something that he
had done before in another school. Mr. Spencer asks Holden to give him the
exam paper on top of his chiffonier. He reads the paper out loud to Holden
and after that he gives Holden lots of advice, but Holden gets away from
Mr. Spencer by telling he still has to go to the gym, which is a lie.
Holden thinks by himself that he is a really terrific liar, and notices that
this is actually pretty awful. He returns to his school, Pencey Prep.
When he’s in his room, in the Ossenburger Memorial Wing, he’s trying to read
a book, but Ackley, a guy that sleeps in the room next door, comes in through
the shower curtains and disturbes him by picking up and laying down
everything in the room and asking stupid questions. Finally, Stradlater,
Holden’s roommate comes in in a big hurry and makes Ackley think of leaving
Stradlater tells Holden he’s going out tonight with Jane Gallagher, who used
to be Holden’s neighbour when she was young. While Stradlater is shaving,
Holden sits next to him and he’s turning the tap on and off, as a nervous
habit. Stradlater asks Holden to do him a huge favour by writing a
composition for him. Holden isn’t interested but says that he might do it.
They start talkig about Stradlater’s date for this evening. After shaving
himself twice, he asks if he may use Holden’s coat for the evening because
his coat is dirty. Then he goes down to see Jane. After he’s gone, Ackley
comes in again and for once Holden is glad to see him, because Ackley makes
him think of other things than Jane.
After the Saturday meal, which is always steak because then the visiting
parents think it’s a good school, Holden is thinking about going out. Mal
Brossard decides that he, Holden and Ackley will go into town. They decide
to go by bus. After some pinball and some hamburgers, they go back to
the school. Holden starts to write the composition for Stradlater, about
the baseball mitt of Allie, his dead brother. After writing for about an
hour on Stradlater’s typewriter, he finishes the composition.
Then, Stradlater comes back from his date and thanks Holden for borrowing
him his coat. He asks Holden if he has written the composition for him, but
after seeing it, he don’t like it too much. Holden tears it into little
pieces and throws it away. A little while later, when they’re talking about
Jane, Holden tries to smash Stradlater, but he doesn’t hit him as hard as
he would want to. Stradlater gets angry and pushes Holden to the floor and
sits on him. After Holden keeps on calling him a dirty moron, he smashes
Holden right in the face. Holden has got blood all over his face and
pyjamas and sits down for a moment and goes to Ackley’s room through the
Ackley is still awake when Holden comes in, but he’s telling Holden that
he’s trying to sleep. He also wonder why Holden has got blood all over his
face. Holden lays down on Ely’s bed. Ely is Ackley’s roommate. Holden
starts thinking about Stradlater and after that he wakes up Ackley, but
he’s bad tempered and decides to leave the room. Holden doesn’t want to be
at Pencey anymore. He starts packing, sells his typewriter and leaves
Pencey by yelling ’sleep tight’.
Holden walks all the way to the station. In the almost empty train, a woman
decides to sit down next to him. She turns out to be a mother of a guy who
is at Pencey Prep. Holden even asks her if she would like to have a
cocktail with him, but she doesn’t want to. She’s wondering why he’s going
home now. He tells her that he’s got a tumor in his brain. She believes
what Holden says and later gets of the train.
Holden gets of the train at Penn Station. He starts thinking of ringing
anybody, but he can’t think of a singel person who he can ring up. So he
takes a cab home, but halfway he thinks that it might be better for him to
go to a hotel. So he lets the cab turn around and he decides to go to the
Edmont Hotel. When he’s in his room, he loos outside and sees other people
doing weird stuff in their rooms. He goes downstairs and gives this girl
that he met a party a ring. He asks her to join him in the bar for a
cocktail, but she refuses because it’s too late.
Holden gets back to his room and wants to give Phoebe, his little sister,
a call, but he’s afraid that one of his parents might pick up the phone.
Finally, he decides to go to the bar on his own. After a while, he orders
a Scotch and soda. The waiter doesn’t want to give him any alcohol because
he’s under 21, so he orders a Coke. At the table next to him, there are
these 3 ugly girls. Holden asks one of them for a dance, and she’s a really
good dancer, but she doesn’t even communicate with Holden and after a while
the girls tell Holden that they have to get home, so Holden is on his own
When Holden is on his way out to the lobby, he can’t keep his mind of Jane.
He remembers everything they did together. They went out to the cinema,
they used to play checkers and remembers that Jane wouldn’t get het king off
the back row. And now he discovers he isn’t happy at all that she dated
Stradlater last night. Then he takes the lift down again. Outside the
hotel he takes a cab to take him to the nightclub.
In the cab, he starts thinking about the ducks in the lake nearby and asks
the cab driver where they stay in the winter. The driver is not in the mood
to talk right now, and he lets Holden out of the cab at Ernie’s. Holden
pays the fare and goes in. Inside, Ernie, the piano player of the club is
about to finish his song. It is very crowdy, but after a while Holden gets
his table on the back. Then, an old girlfriend of D.B., Holden’s older
brother who is writing novels in Hollywood, recognizes him and invites him
to join her on her date this night. Holden doesn’t feel like that and says
that he has to go somewhere else. So he has to leave the club.
Holden doesn’t feel like taking a cab again and so he walks home with his
hunting hat on his head. He doesn’t have gloves, because someone swiped
his at Pencey. His hands are really freezing because of the cold. He meets
two people on the street who are asking him the way to the subway. Holden
smokes a lot of cigars in the lobby. In the elevator, the elevator guy asks
him if he wants to have a prostitute tonight. Holden tells him it’s OK, but
after telling the guy his room-number, he feels sort of sorry. After 15
minutes, the girl comes up to his room. When she puts the dress over her
head, Holden feels more depressed than sexy, so he lies he had just had an
operation on his spinal canal and apologizes for letting her come. He gives
her 5 dollars, but she says that it was 10, which wasn’t true.
After girl has left, Holden sits down in a chair and thinks about his dead
brother Allie. He still remember the day he took Allie with him to shoot
his BB gun. He always thinks about this when he’s depressed. Holden gets
undressed and goes to bed. He felt like doing a prayer for a while and
thinks of the time he was at Whooton, where a guy who was going into church.
He always discussed about the fact that you have to have respect the
Diciples or not. Holden can’t pray when he’s laying in bed. He takes a
cigarette but while he’s laying there, someone knocks on the door. It are
Maurice and Sunny, and they are coming back to get the other 5 dollars.
Holden doesn’t want to give them the money and Maurice beats him up, takes
his wallet and takes the 5 dollars. He pretends that he has an automatic
and kills Maurice in the elevator, gets upstairs and calls Jane to come and
bandage up his wounds. He feels like commiting suice too, but he doesn’t
jump out of the window because no one would catch him when he’d fall.
The next morning, Holden sleeps til 10. He gives Sally Hayes a ring and
makes a date for a matinee. Then he packs his luggage and leaves the hotel,
takes a cab to the Central Station, puts his suitcases in a locker and
orders breakfast at the Station. While he’s eating his breakfast, two nuns
come in and sit down next to him in the corner. They start a conversation
about just general topics. He gives them 10 dollars for their collection.
Holden takes out a cigarette, but when the nuns are about to leave he blows
some smoke in their faces, and he apologizes immediately, but were nice
about it. After they’ve left, he feels sorry he has only given them 10
dollars, but he remembers he has to have some money left for the matinee
After Holden has finished his breakfast, it’s around noon, and he meets
Sally Hayes at 2. So he starts thinking about taking a long walk towards
Broadway because he hasn’t been there for years. He wants to go to a record
store to buy this really old record for his sister Phoebe, names Little
Shirley Beans. Holden knows that Phoebe is often roller-skating in the park
on Sundays. It isn’t as cold as a few days ago, so there are some people
about having a nice walk. A little kid is walking and keeps on singing
“if a body catch a body coming through the rye…”. That makes Holden a
little less depressed. As he comes closer to the theatre there are more
people on the street. He goes into this recordstore and buys the record
for Phoebe for about 5 bucks. Then he buys 2 tickets for I Know My Love. In
the park, he asks a girl if she knows where Phoebe is, but she has no clue.
Holden walks into the old Indian Museum where he used to be when he was a
little kid. Then he goes out again to meet Sally.
Holden is really early, so he waits until Sally turns up. When he finally
shows up, they take a cab to the theatre. The film isn’t as bad as some
Holden has seen before. At the break, Sally meets someone whom she knows
and he accompanies them till the end of the show and even walks them to
their cab. Sally proposes to go ice-skating for an hour or so. On the ice
they discover they are the worst skaters of the whole rink. So they go into
the bar next to the rink and drink some cokes. They start having this
conversation which irritates Holden, and after a while he tells her she
gives him a pain in the ass. That makes her cry and he asks if he can bring
her home, but she doesn’t want him to. Then Holden starts laughing. Sally
gets even more upset and angry and tells him to leave, so he does.
When Holden leaves the rink, he feels hungry and goes to a drugstore and
gives Jane a call, but no one picks up the phone on the other side. Then
he rings up Carl Luce, a guy who was at Whooton School when Holden was there
too. Holden doesn’t really like him too much, but he reckons that it’s at
least better to have him around than to be alone for the whole night. Carl
says that he has got some spare time after 10. It was only 6, so Holden
has some time left to go to the movies. Holden watches the entire was movie
but he doesn’t actually really like it. After the movie is over, he starts
walking towards the Wicker Bar, where he was supposed to meet Carl Luce, and
keeps thinking about the war.
Holden has a few drinks before Carl turns up. Carl was supposed to be his
advisor at school, but all he ever did was talk about sex. Holden wants to
know who he’s dating at the moment, and he says she’s new in America. After
a while, Carl says that he has to leave again. Holden asks him to stay, but
he doesn’t. Then he leaves and Holden is alone again.
Holden stays in the bar until about 1 o’clock, get out of the bar and rings
up Sally Hayes, but she notices that Holden is drunk and tells him to go to
bed. He enter the bar again and goes to the toilet, fills the washbowl with
water and puts his head in it. Then he sits down on the radiator and waits
for a while. He goes to the hat-check room and takes his coat and leaves.
It was pretty cold outside, so Holden puts his hunting-hat on and walks
through the park until he finds a lake, where he wants to look at the ducks
but he doesn’t see any. He thinks he could get pneumonia and decides to go
home and see sister Phoebe.
Holden has a good break in the elevator before he opens the front door of his
house and gets in. He walks through the house very quiet, because his mother
is very nervous. Finally, he gets to Phoebe’s room and wakes her up after
looking at the books on her desk. She’s awake in a second and tells Holden
how she is. Then she puts her pillow over her head and Holden can’t get it
off. Finally, she goes to the living room and picks up some cigarettes out
of the box, because he didn’t have any left.
When Holden gets back into her room, she has the pillow of her head, but she
still don’t want to look at him. She asks him why he got the axe again and
he tells her Pencey was a stinking school and that he didn’t like it there.
She says him he doesn’t like anything at all, and lets him think of one
thing he likes a lot. After thinking for a few minutes he says he wants to
be a catcher of kids who are playing on a pitch of rye. She tells him daddy
is going to kill him when he finds out he’s been flunked again. Holden don’t
care. He goes to the living room and rings up an old English teacher of his,
Mr. Antolini says Holden can come over if he wants to. Holden gets back into
Phoebe’s room and she turns on the radio, and they dance for a short time.
She is a very good dancer. Then, their parents arrive at home and they just
saw the light in Phoebe’s room. She tells them she couldn’t sleep and says
goodnight. Holden asks her if he can borrow some money, and she gives him
the rest of her christmas money. He takes the stairs down instead of the
elevator and leaves.
Mr. Antolini is married and has an apertment where Holden is walkig to now.
He lets Holden in and takes of his coat. When they’re sitting round the table,
Holden starts to explain why he didn’t do this best at school and why he didn’t
pass english. Mr. Antolini says he had a conversation with Holden’s father and
he is really worried about Holden’s future. He writes a note for Holden asks
him to read it and keep it. He really wants to help Holden but he doesn’t pick
up the message. They make Holden’s bed and he is already asleep again after
laying only a few seconds. In the middle of the night, he wakes up again. He
doesn’t know why, but than he sees Mr. Antolini patting on his head. Holden
is shocked and tells Mr. Antolini he has to go to the station to get his bags.
He doesn’t really want him to leave, but he does anyway. Holden is really
sweating when he’s in the elevator.
When Holden gets outside, he doesn’t know where to go. He just takes the
underground station. He doesn’t want to, but he starts thinking about Mr.
Antolini anyway. Then he picks up a mag that is left on the bench. That makes
him think on something else for a while. Holden starts to walk, but when he
crosses the street, he feels he’s going down and down and will never come up
again. He goes to his primary school where Phoebe goes now and leaves a little
note there saying that he’s leaving home and that he has to meet him at 12. He
gives the note to the principal. He waits for her at the museum. Finally, she
turns up with a big suitcase and says that he’s going to go with him. He gets
really angry and tells her to shut up. Holden wants her to go back to school.
Then he takes her to the zoo and he buys her a ticket to the carrousel and tells
her that he made up his mind and that he decided not to leave home.
Holden tells the reader that he’s not going to tell us anymore. He’s going to
a new school and got sick too, but he’s still not applying himself at school.
He advices you not to tell anybody a thing, because he kep missing all the
people of the story after he did.
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