A Catcher in the Rye: Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Chapter 6 marks a significant pivotal moment for Holden. This turning point is found in the physical struggle between Holden and Stradlater. After Stradlater returns from his date with Jane, he asks Holden if he’s composed his composition for him. Stradlater checks out the paper and rapidly shoots it down, saying that a description of a baseball glove isn’t what the teacher wants. Holden is deeply harmed by this, and turns bitter towards Stradlater, feeling not just a rejection of the paper he composed, but indeed a rejection of his sibling, Allie. This encounter serves to additional puzzle Holden about who his role-models must be and extends his disillusionment with society in general.
The 2nd aspect which leads to the fight between the 2 teens is the “expert trick” comment by Stradlater. When Holden asks Stradlater if he gave Jane, his childhood sweetheart, “the time” (significance did she lose her virginity to him), Stradlater shrugs it off by stating that it’s a “professional trick.” This enrages the currently upset Holden, yet he can’t articulate the anger he feels. Holden admits that he doesn’t remember the following events too well. He just says that he knows he attempts to punch Stradlater in the mouth but misses out on and soon finds himself on the floor. To further anger Stradlater, Holden calls him names, acknowledging, “I informed him he didn’t even care if a woman kept all her kings in the back row or not, and the factor he didn’t care was due to the fact that he was a goddam silly idiot.”
Again, Holden’s mouth gets him in problem. Although he can’t truly explain to the reader why he is so upset, he fasts to evaluate Stradlater, calling him a “goddam foolish idiot.” But it’s not the kings in the back row that actually worries Holden, it’s the fact that he can’t protect the virgin innocence of Jane. Yet at this moment in the story even Holden doesn’t realize what has infuriated him so.
The rest of the chapter deals with Holden’s response to his own bloody face. He discusses that the sight of a lot blood and gore both terrified and scared him. Although he doesn’t understand it himself, the factor he seems to discover a morbid fascination in the sight is due to the fact that subconsciously he sees himself as a martyr for Jane. Deep down he likes the concept of being penalized for the sins of Stradlater and Jane.
Chapter 7: Salinger’s seventh chapter functions as a shift from the battle with Stradlater to Holden’s departure from Pencey Prep. After the battle, Holden decides to take refuge in Ackley’s adjoining room next-door. Of course he does this really late in the evening, so Ackley is currently sleeping or at least trying to sleep. Holden wakes him and asks if he can oversleep the bed of Ackley’s roommate. This frustrates Ackley, but he does not make Holden leave. Quickly Ackley asks Holden about the fight but Holden lies about it, saying that he was defending Ackley’s credibility. Here, as in earlier scenes, Holden seeks the course of least resistance, conforming and adjusting his mindset depending upon whom he is with.
Throughout the night, Holden asks Ackley, a Catholic, about the requirements to join a monastery. However quickly Holden dismisses this idea as ridiculous, given that he ‘d most likely join an abbey “with the incorrect type of monks in it.” Here, Holden’s absence of self-esteem is again exposed. Soon Holden go back to his dorm to pack his bags when he notices brand-new ice skates that his mom has just sent. This reminds him of house and his parents’ expectations for him, the majority of which he hasn’t measured up to. He becomes depressed, describing, “Almost each time someone offers me a present, it ends up making me unfortunate.”
Ultimately, Holden leaves the dorm with all his valuables. This is more than a physical departure, however actually also psychological one– Holden is attempting to leave his past and embark on his future, wishing to discover his place worldwide. After leaving the door to the dorm, he wakes nearly everyone by screaming, “Sleep tight, ya idiots!”
Chapter 8: In this chapter, Holden gets on a train to New York city, where he plans to invest a few days in a hotel prior to going home. During the trip he ends up meeting the mother of one of the “bast *** s” he goes to school with at Pencey Preparation. In order to secure his identity, Holden lies about his name but chooses to “shoot the bull” with her for some time. One of the ways he shoots the bull is by flattering the female about her kid. Holden informs her how modest and shy her child is, when in reality he considers him as one of the most “conceited bast *** s” in the whole school. He also lies to her about how sensitive and caring the young boy is. Yet Holden confesses to the reader, “That person Morrow was about as delicate as a toilet seat.”
In this method, Morrow’s mom is provided an impression of him that is completely contradictory to everything Holden really thinks. Yet, like before, Holden is more than going to sacrifice the reality in exchange for the sense of innocence he tries so hard to protect. Holden, who sees himself as the catcher in the rye, has made it his primary objective to protect others, even those he doesn’t care for, from the harshness of truth.
Later on, in order to leave the invitation of Morrow’s mom to invest a week with them at their summertime home, Holden says that he’s going on a journey with his grandmother to South America over the summer season. This is paradoxical, he thinks, because his grandma is the one person in his family who doesn’t go anywhere.
Chapter 9: Salinger’s ninth chapter is uneventful for the most part. It begins as Holden leaves the train station and decides to go to the phone cubicle to call someone. His only issue is he does not know who to call. He has plenty of people in mind, however in the end he convinces himself that there are too many excuses not to call; for example, Phoebe, his sister, is currently in bed. There are numerous phone calls that never get made in this book. This is not due to the fact that Holden is shy and does not have the nerve to call anyone; it’s because Holden’s mind is so scrambled with a blur of thoughts and feelings, he has difficulty arranging them out and taking decisive action.
In the cab, Holden begins to think about where the ducks from the pond in Central Park go throughout the winter. He asks the cabdriver but doesn’t get a clear answer. Here, like the kings in the back row, a relatively irrelevant detail still bothers Holden immensely. The reader could even infer that the Central Park ducks suggest more to Holden than matters of real value, like his future. It’s a stretch, but Salinger could be utilizing the ducks as a metaphor for Holden’s desire to get away, to fly away from the cold winters of his own life.
Once in the hotel, Holden curiously peers through his windows and notifications different people in other rooms doing really peculiar things. One guy is cross-dressing while another couple neighboring is spitting water in each others’ faces. This intrigues Holden however also disgusts him. He shrugs it off, saying the hotel was “loaded with perverts and morons.” Soon Holden gets to thinking of his own social life, and admits, “I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.” To show this to the reader, Holden calls up an attractive woman he only slightly knows and asks her out for a date. She declines him however, and he acknowledges that he actually “fouled it up.” Holden, at such a young age, does not yet understand his own sexuality.
Chapter 10: The tenth chapter beings the exact same method the ninth chapter did: Holden feels like calling Phoebe. Here, Holden starts to talk a little bit more about Phoebe, his beloved sister. It’s obvious that Holden takes care of Phoebe the most out of his family. This makes sense considering that Allie is dead, D.B. is a counterfeit Hollywood woman of the street, and his moms and dads are both phonies. Holden explains Phoebe in his classic second-person discussion, stating, “You never ever saw a youngster so pretty and clever in your whole life.” Yet Holden hesitates to call Phoebe for worry that his parents may address the phone and understand that he is in New York, tossed out of Pencey Prep.
So, considering that he’s so bored with absolutely nothing to do anyhow, Holden decides to go down to the Lavender Space, the hotel club. After being seated, he asks the waiter for a beer, however he questions his age. Acting extremely annoyed, Holden orders a coca-cola instead. Close by, he sees three older ladies sitting on their own at a table. Holden quickly visits the table and ultimately dances with all 3 of them, though he seems to dislike every minute of his time in their company. All 3 of the girls, who are travelers from Seattle, are obsessed with film stars. This particularly annoys Holden, because he believes all movie stars are phonies anyway. When they inform him they need to go back to their room to get some sleep, Holden becomes extremely “depressed” due to the fact that they say that in the early morning they’re preparing to visit Radio City Music Hall– a bogus location he dislikes.