The Catcher in the Rye

by

J. D. Salinger

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Jane Gallagher Character Analysis

Jane is a girl Holden met while summering in Maine two years before the events of The Catcher in the Rye. A kind young woman, Jane goes to a different private school than Holden, which is why Holden is surprised when his roommate, Ward Stradlater, tells him that he’s going on a date with her. As Stradlater prepares for this date, Holden tells him about his fond memories of Jane, explaining that Jane’s parents are divorced and that she lives with her mother and alcoholic stepfather. Later in the novel, Holden tells a story about trying to make Jane feel better after a seemingly meaningless exchange with her stepfather made her cry. Although Holden and Jane never did more than hold hands, Holden fixates on the relationship they had, idealizing Jane as the perfect woman. For this reason, he tries to work up the courage to call her throughout his time in New York City, though he can never bring himself to actually talk to her because he’s afraid that doing so will ruin the perfect image he’s created of her, and of their connection.
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Jane Gallagher Character Timeline in The Catcher in the Rye

The timeline below shows where the character Jane Gallagher appears in The Catcher in the Rye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Women and Sex Theme Icon
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...to take out mentioned that she knows Holden. Her name, Stradlater says, is Jean Gallagher. “Jane Gallagher,” Holden says, correcting him. This news thoroughly surprises Holden, since he really does know... (full context)
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As Stradlater shaves, Holden speaks at length about Jane, remembering that she’s a dancer and that she used to keep all of her kings... (full context)
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Once more, Holden says he should go downstairs to say hello to Jane, and Stradlater asks him why he keeps saying that but not doing anything. “I’m not... (full context)
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Holden asks what Stradlater and Jane are going to do, and Stradlater says they might go to New York City if... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Holden spends the next several hours fretting about what’s happening between Stradlater and Jane on their date. This is largely because he knows Stradlater is so sexually advanced, having... (full context)
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Puffing away on his cigarette, Holden asks Stradlater what happened on his date with Jane, but Stradlater refuses to say. Nonetheless, Holden continues to pressure him into giving him details... (full context)
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Unable to resist, Holden asks Stradlater if he and Jane had sex. This offends Stradlater, who refuses to answer. Consequently, Holden tries to punch him,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Lonely and tormented by the suspicion that Stradlater may have had sex with Jane, Holden decides to leave Pencey and go to New York City until his parents learn... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...York, Holden wants to talk to someone, and considers calling D.B., Phoebe (his younger sister), Jane, or another friend named Sally Hayes. He even considers calling a guy named Carl Luce,... (full context)
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Once again, Holden thinks about calling Jane, but he finds the idea exhausting because he would have to pretend to be her... (full context)
Chapter 11
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In the hotel lobby, Holden thinks again about Jane Gallagher and Stradlater, hoping that nothing happened between them on their date. He then remembers... (full context)
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Holden remembers how happy he used to be when he held Jane’s hand and says that she’s the only person he ever showed Allie’s baseball mitt. As... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...next morning (after only a few hours of sleep), he thinks once again about calling Jane, but decides that he isn’t in the “mood.” Instead, he calls Sally Hayes, who he... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...her, he hurries toward the park, though not before stopping in a drugstore and calling Jane. When her mother answers, though, he immediately hangs up, feeling as if he has to... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...after leaving Sally. Once again, he goes into a phone booth and thinks about calling Jane Gallagher, wanting to take her dancing. Before calling her, though, he gets lost in a... (full context)
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...evening. The problem, though, is that he only has three people in his address book: Jane, a teacher named Mr. Antolini who used to teach at Elkton Hills, and his father’s... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...the message. Still, he stays at the bar and continues to drink, thinking about calling Jane. Finally, at 1:00 in the morning, he stumbles outside while pretending he’s been shot in... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Holden sets out for the Museum of Art. On his way, he considers calling Jane Gallagher, but ultimately doesn’t feel up to the task. Once he reaches the museum, he... (full context)