The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Holden concludes by refusing to say what happened after he and Phoebe went to the carousel in the park. The only information he offers beyond this is that he got sick shortly thereafter and is supposed to start school again once he “get[s] out of here.” He mentions that a psychoanalyst who works where he’s currently staying continues to ask him if he’s going to apply himself when he goes to his new school in the fall. However, Holden thinks this is a stupid question because, although he thinks he’s going to apply himself, he won’t actually know if this is true until he’s at school again.    
The end of The Catcher in the Rye doesn’t provide any insight into what becomes of Holden, except that he seems to have been put in some kind of monitored facility where he can be psychoanalyzed. Preserving this sense of ambiguity, Holden says that he doesn’t know whether or not he’ll apply himself when he returns to school, ultimately implying that he may not have learned much from what happened to him in the aftermath of his expulsion from Pencey. By not letting the novel conclude with a clear moral, Salinger invites readers to think of Holden as a real person with real problems that can’t simply be solved with simple resolutions. Indeed, Holden will continue to struggle through life, whether or not he decides to apply himself in school. This much, at least, seems clear.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
D.B. visits Holden quite frequently. He recently asked how Holden feels about everything that has happened to him in the past few months, but Holden didn’t know what to say. After all, he’s not entirely sure what he thinks of the entire ordeal. The only thing he is sure about is that he wishes he hadn’t told so many people about what happened to him once he left Pencey. Oddly enough, he finds himself missing the people in the story he’s just told—even Ackley and Stradlater. This, Holden says, is why people shouldn’t talk so much about their lives, because “if you do, you start missing everybody.”
It shouldn’t be all that surprising that Holden suddenly finds himself missing people he previously disliked. After all, this pattern has followed him throughout the novel, as he vacillates between wanting human interaction and alienating the very people he seeks out. That he doesn’t like talking about his life also suggests that he probably dislikes the psychoanalysis he’s receiving, which undoubtedly requires him to express himself and talk about his emotions. Given that he’s so used to evading his feelings by focusing on things like whether or not people are “phony,” it makes sense that he would feel uncomfortable speaking so directly about his own experience as he moves through life.
Themes
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon