Free Study Guide for The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger|
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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
Holden remains in the Wicker Bar for a while after Carl leaves getting increasingly drunk because he is lonely and has nowhere to go. He playacts the gangster scene in his head, imagining Jane coming to nurse his wounds. He even calls Sally, in spite of the hour, and tells her Rocky’s mob has gotten him. It becomes increasingly clear that Holden is on a downward spiral, gathering momentum as he falls. When he reaches the lagoon, he discovers that the ducks do indeed have somewhere to go, for they are absent; he, however, belongs nowhere. Holden, sinking further into his depression, thinks about contracting pneumonia and dying.
While Holden is imaging his own death, he does not want to suffer the torturous experience of a burial ceremony; he hopes that "somebody has sense enough to just dump (him) in the river or something". He does not like the idea of being in a cold and dark cemetery "surrounded by dead guys with visitors coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday." Holden remembers visiting Allie’s grave when it was raining; he hated it that Allie had to stay there when everyone else ran for cover and continued living their normal lives.
Though Holden is desperately low on money, he skips his remaining change across the water of the duck pond; it is a sign that he is no longer thinking about the future or his own survival. This action, coupled with his thoughts on death, seem to indicate an increasingly troubled and dangerous state of mind. Finally, Holden decides to see Phoebe one last time before he dies. Though he has previously stayed away from home out of guilt, shame, and dread of his parents’ reaction to his latest expulsion, he cannot resist the urge to see to Phoebe. He knows her presence will comfort him.
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. 09 May 2017