- Year Published: 1951.
- Pages: 214.
Catcher in the Rye Summary of Chapters
Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old student, tells his story from a hospital. It starts in his departure from Pencey Prep School, Pennsylvania where he is expelled for poor performance. His teacher, Mr. Spencer, asserts that he needs to work hard to succeed in life. Holden has an ugly, disgusting and annoying neighbor called Ackley who pays him a pestering visit. His roommate is contrastingly neat and handsome – Stradlater. He comes home and asks Holden to write a composition for him while he goes on a date with Jane – Holden’s secret crush.
Holden tries to write Stradlater’s composition, but can’t. So he writes about his late, younger brother Allie’s baseball glove instead. Stradlater returns, reads the composition, is infuriated and insults Holden. Holden asks him about his date but Stradlater refuses to give details. They fight and Holden is overpowered. He leaves for Ackley’s room where he contemplates about his tough school life. He decides to pack and go back home early. He catches a late night train and spends the night at Edmont Hotel.
Holden gets restless so he goes out to the Edmont’s Nightclub. Before he leaves, he remembers his little sister, Phoebe, and whether he should call. At the Nightclub, he entertains three ladies from Seattle but it ends badly. So Holden takes a cab to Ernie’s, where he frequented with his brother DB. He gets bored there and leaves when he sites DB’s x-date. He walks 41 blocks to the hotel thinking of his cowardice. The hotel elevator operator offers him a prostitute for 5 dollars and he accepts. The prostitute shows up at his room Holden gets flustered. He sends her off paying 5 dollars. The girl asks for 10, but Holden refuses.
Holden is smoking in his room thinking about Allie when the elevator operator comes by with the prostitute claiming the remaining 5 dollars. He pins Holden to the ground and takes the money from his wallet. Holden staggers to bed and sleeps. The next morning, Holden checks out and arranges for a date with Sally Hayes in the afternoon. He thinks about his parents and how the news of his expulsion will affect them and goes to have breakfast where he entertains 2travelling nuns. He forces them to take 10 dollars as they left and regrets not giving more. Holden buys a record for Phoebe and tries calling her but his mother picks so he hangs up. He buys theater tickets for his date and then goes to the park to find Phoebe but fails. Later, Holden is bored by the play at his date. They go skating afterward where Holden’s disturbed emotions unveil. They argue forcing and Holden leaves.
Holden goes for a meal when he remembers Jane. He decides to call but she does not answer. He calls Luce for drinks later and goes to Radio City Music hall for a movie. He is bored by the movie but is reminded of his brothers. He walks to Wicker Bar where he meets Luce. The meeting ends badly and Luce departs. Holden gets drunk and tries to arrange another date with Sally to no avail. He also flirts with other girls at the bar without success. So he goes to a duck pond in Central Park where he breaks Phoebe’s record. He decides to sneak home so he can speak with Phoebe. The parents are out andPhoebe is overjoyed. She worries at realizing that Holden had been expelled.
Holden and Phoebe argue for a while until Holden called Mr. Antolini, a former teacher from another school he was expelled from. Antolini allowed Holden to spend the night at his place. The parents returned forcing Holden to sneak out. He tells her of his plans to move west and Phoebe lends him her Christmas money. Holden gives him his hat and heads off toAntolini’s. He is received and is warned of a fall in his future. In bed, Holden feels a stroke on his head and concludes Antolini is making sexual advances. He dashes out and sleeps on a bench at Grand Central Station. Next morning, he takes a note to Phoebe in school asking to meet at the Museum of Art. Phoebe desperately asks him to take her along when they meet but Holden refuses.Phoebe gets mad and gives him his hat back. He took her to a carousel where he got Phoebe to ride. He wore his hat again and felt at ease. Holden refuses to talk about the next day. He explains that he went home and got sick which is how he is a hospital. He is going to a new school pledges to exert himself this time and misses his friends.