The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Holden thinks about calling up Jane Gallagher again, and remembers a time when he saw her with Al Pike from Choate, a boy he thought was stuck-up. Jane claimed Al just had an inferiority complex, which Holden thinks girls use as an excuse to justify dating arrogant boys.
After his encounter with Sally, Holden's idealized vision of Jane threatens to break down. He remembers an incident that doesn't fit with his illusion.
Themes
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Holden calls up Carl Luce, a friend from the Whooton School who attends Columbia. They plan to meet that night.
Holden tries again to relieve his loneliness..
Themes
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
In the meantime, Holden goes to Radio City Music Hall to see a movie. He's annoyed by the Rockettes pre-movie dance, but remembers how he and Allie used to love the man in the orchestra who played kettledrum because the man seemed to enjoy it so much.
The Rockettes dance is phony to the core. The kettle drummer is just the opposite: he enjoys exactly what he's doing. But is either really something to get worked up about?
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
The movie is about the war. Afterward, as Holden walks to meet Luce, he thinks about D.B.'s experience in World War II. He thinks that he could never be in the army. If a war came, he thinks, he would volunteer to sit on top of an atomic bomb.
Holden again thinks about suicide. Also note his selfishness: in thinking about war he thinks only of himself. It's as if he's so alienated the rest of the world doesn't exist for him.
Themes
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
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