The Catcher in the Rye

by

J. D. Salinger

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Ward Stradlater Character Analysis

Stradlater is Holden’s roommate at Pencey Prep. A popular and good-looking young man, Stradlater is confident but kind. Although Holden recognizes that his roommate is rather conceited, he also knows that Stradlater is the sort of person who would give another student his own tie if that student complimented it. Holden’s neighbor, Ackley, on the other hand, can’t stand Stradlater because he thinks he’s a pompous jerk. And though Holden disagrees at first, he can’t help but see Ackley’s point when he learns that Stradlater is going on a date with Jane Gallagher. Beside himself, Holden talks at length about Jane as Stradlater prepares for the date, but Stradlater doesn’t seem to care about any of the quirky little details Holden mentions about Jane’s personality. Rather, Holden can sense that Stradlater is only interested in having sex with Jane—an idea that sets Holden on edge. When Stradlater returns from his date and refuses to tell Holden everything that happened, Holden picks a fight with him. Because Stradlater is much bigger, he easily wins, though this doesn’t stop Holden from persisting in calling him a “moron.” It is this fight that finally inspires Holden to leave Pencey once and for all, setting off for New York City in the middle of the night.

Ward Stradlater Quotes in The Catcher in the Rye

The The Catcher in the Rye quotes below are all either spoken by Ward Stradlater or refer to Ward Stradlater. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Phoniness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown edition of The Catcher in the Rye published in 2001.
Chapter 7 Quotes

When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don’t know why. I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, "Sleep tight, ya morons!" I’ll bet I woke up every bastard on the whole floor. Then I got the hell out.

Related Characters: Holden Caulfield (speaker), Ward Stradlater
Related Symbols: Holden’s Red Hunting Hat
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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Ward Stradlater Character Timeline in The Catcher in the Rye

The timeline below shows where the character Ward Stradlater appears in The Catcher in the Rye. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
...takes special pleasure in doing this to the things that belong to Holden’s roommate, Ward Stradlater, whom Ackley hates. Even Holden thinks that Stradlater is conceited, but he doesn’t mind him... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...18 and Holden is only 16. Still, this doesn’t stop Ackley from bugging him until Stradlater finally returns from the football game, at which point Ackley returns to his own room. (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
When Stradlater enters the room, he explains that he and his date decided to leave the football... (full context)
Chapter 4
Phoniness Theme Icon
Having nothing better to do, Holden keeps Stradlater company as he shaves. Holden notes that Stradlater is a “secret” slob, who is handsome... (full context)
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Once again, Holden asks the name of Stradlater’s date, and Stradlater suddenly remembers that the girl he’s about to take out mentioned that... (full context)
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
As Stradlater shaves, Holden speaks at length about Jane, remembering that she’s a dancer and that she... (full context)
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
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 in the... (full context)
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Holden asks what Stradlater and Jane are going to do, and Stradlater says they might go to New York... (full context)
Chapter 5
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Finally, Holden tells Ackley to leave so he can work on Stradlater’s English homework. The assignment is to write a descriptive short essay about a house or... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...with his right hand, which sometimes still hurts. But Holden leaves these details out of Stradlater’s homework assignment, instead focusing on simply describing Allie’s baseball mitt. To make sure he does... (full context)
Chapter 6
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Puffing away on his cigarette, Holden asks Stradlater what happened on his date with Jane, but Stradlater refuses to say. Nonetheless, Holden continues... (full context)
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Unable to resist, Holden asks Stradlater if he and Jane had sex. This offends Stradlater, who refuses to answer. Consequently, Holden... (full context)
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
After Stradlater leaves, Holden puts on his red hunting hat and looks at his face in the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...light. Annoyed but too intrigued to stop himself, Ackley asks what happened between him and Stradlater, but Holden evades the question. Rather than answering, he plops down on the bed on... (full context)
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
Lonely and tormented by the suspicion that Stradlater may have had sex with Jane, Holden decides to leave Pencey and go to New... (full context)
Chapter 11
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
In the hotel lobby, Holden thinks again about Jane Gallagher and Stradlater, hoping that nothing happened between them on their date. He then remembers the summer he... (full context)
Chapter 13
Phoniness Theme Icon
Women and Sex Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...the moment. He also suggests that he’s too attentive to girls’ feelings, unlike people like Stradlater, who work hard to convince their dates to have sex with them. Whenever a girl... (full context)
Chapter 18
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
...in addition to the idea of having to spend so much time with people like Stradlater or Ackley, who Holden thinks are the sort of people who would be in the... (full context)
Chapter 22
Phoniness Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...relates a story about a Pencey alumnus who visited the school and asked Holden and Stradlater to show him the bathroom because he wanted to see if his initials—which he had... (full context)
Chapter 26
Phoniness Theme Icon
Alienation and Meltdown Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Madness, Depression, Suicide Theme Icon
...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... (full context)