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Summary / Analysis
These summaries will provide you with an outline of what is in the pages specified. It is assumed that you are reading along with this summary because these are only important events which you should pay attention to, to understand these ideas you need to read the details supporting each item.
During the first 45 pages, the scene of the book is set. You meet the main character Holden Caulfield whom is narrating the story from a consciousness level as well. The book starts off at Pency Prep Holden's current school at which he is flunking out of, he is only days from his expulsion from Pency and has been paying his last dues to his liked instructors. Back at the dorm you meet Robert Ackley whom Holden dislikes with a passion. You are also introduced to Straddler, Holden's roommate, whom is going on a date with Jane tonight, one of Holden's old friends. Holden agrees to write a paper for Straddler while he is on the date and gets immersed in old memories of his dead brother Allie whom he loves dearly. When Straddler arrives back at the dorm, Holden questions him about the date hoping that Straddler did not have sex with Jane. Straddler does not like the line of questioning and ends up in a fight with Holden, who lost trying to protect his old friend. These pages set the scene for what life was like at Pency which is a very important fact later in the book.
After the fight with Straddler, Holden attempts to befriend Ackley without success because he does not want to leave Pency friendless. Holden eventually decides to leave Pency early and stay in New York until the day that he is suppose to arrive home comes. On the train to New York Holden meets the mother of student at Pency and lies about him just to be sociable while all the time laughing that he is being a phony while he hates them. Once in New York at his hotel he calls a girl he was given a phone number to but he ends up not doing anything with her and is angry with himself for it. He is in his room when we are introduced to Phoebe, his little sister whom he holds in high respect also and wants to go see, a recurring theme rest of the book. He goes down the the Lavender Room, the bar at the hotel, and can not even order a drink. He ends up sitting with 3 girls for whom he buys drinks and dances with although after the whole evening they end up just leaving without saying thank you. Holden then goes to another club at which he meets a girl whom he considers a phony and a idiot, like most of the world. He leaves the club and walks back to the hotel in the beautiful night air.
On the way up the elevator he is set up with a prostitute by Maurice the elevator man. He goes into detail about his sex life because of his insecurities about it until the prostitute gets there. Once she was there though Holden changed his mind for some reason and wanted to just talk with the prostitute who didn't know what to do now. She ends up leaving after an argument over the money that was to be paid, Holden did not pay her and will regret it too. Maurice later comes back and lays into Holden and takes the rest of money that he "owed" him, leaving Holden very upset and degraded. Holden meets two nuns in a subway restaurant and gives them a donation and ends up having a very pleasant conversation with them; these are the first people he doesn't mentally degrade constantly. Holden arranged a date for later that afternoon with Sally Hayes but then went to the park hoping to see Phoebe. He didn't but he did help a child with their skates and that brought back memories of when he was a child also. He went from the park to his date, for which he was early. The date ends up going horribly and Holden asks Sally if she will run away with him
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Fiction, Literature, Literary realism, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, Culture of New York City, Holden, Friends, Phoebe Buffay
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