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.
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.
...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)
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)
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)
...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)
...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)