The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Holden returns to his dorm in Ossenburger Hall, which is named after a Pencey alum who got rich from owning funeral homes.
A man getting rich off death is an example of real phoniness in the world.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alone in his room, Holden reads Isaac Dinesen's Out of Africa while wearing his new red hunting cap. But Robert Ackley, Holden's neighbor, barges in. Ackley is repulsive, with bad skin and hygiene, and acts as if you're lucky to spend time with him even though he's disliked by almost everyone. When Ackley comments on Holden's hunting hat, Holden tells him it's a "people shooting hat."
It's clear Holden dislikes adults. Now it becomes obvious that Holden dislikes almost everyone. While he seems to realize that Ackley acts macho to hide insecurity, Holden doesn't see how his own act resembles Ackley's.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Eventually, Ward Stradlater, Holden's big, strong, handsome roommate enters. Ackley hates Stradlater, and leaves. Stradlater says he has a date.
Holden's awareness of his peers' bodies and appearance is a sign of teenage sexual discomfort.
Themes
Women and Sex Theme Icon