The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In Penn Station in New York, Holden wants to talk to someone, and considers calling D.B., his younger sister Phoebe, Jane, or another friend named Sally Hayes. He calls none of them.
A sign of Holden's loneliness, self-imposed alienation, and depression: he has friends but doesn't want to contact them.
Themes
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Instead, Holden puts on his hunting cap and hails a cab to the Edmont Hotel. On the way, he asks the driver where the ducks in the Central Park lagoon go in the winter, but the driver thinks he's joking and gets annoyed.
Holden's hat and his duck question are both childish and inappropriate for someone his age.
Themes
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
From his room in the hotel, Holden can see into other rooms. In one, a man is cross-dressing. In another, a couple spits their drinks in each other faces. Holden gets aroused, and thinks he's both a "sex maniac" and doesn't understand sex at all.
The things Holden sees reinforce that Holden isn't wrong: there is phoniness in the adult world. And Holden actually finds himself aroused by it. That may be part of why he hates it.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Again he thinks of calling Jane, but instead calls Faith Cavendish, a woman whose number he got from a guy who told Holden she was promiscuous. She refuses to meet him that night, but offers to meet him tomorrow. He doesn't want to wait that long, and hangs up.
Holden obviously would rather see Jane, but he sees her as innocent and perfect and thinks of sex as dirty. To protect his illusions of Jane's purity, he isolates himself.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
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