The Catcher in the Rye | Study Guide

J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 11

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of chapter 11 of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye.

The Catcher in the Rye | Chapter 11 | Summary

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Summary

As he exits the Lavender Room, Holden recalled the summer that he and Jane played golf and tennis together. Jane isn't beautiful, but Holden likes that she reads and that she appreciates Allie's baseball mitt. He recalls a day when they played checkers on the porch when Jane's father embarrassed her, and Holden comforted her by kissing her face. However, Jane wouldn't let him kiss her mouth. Now Holden hopes that Jane didn't let Stradlater "get to first base."

Holden finds the empty lobby depressing and takes a cab to Ernie's, a club that D.B. frequented. The pianist, Ernie, plays well, but his music makes Holden feel that Ernie is a snob.

Analysis

This chapter develops two ideas. First, Holden's recollections of Jane point again to his concern that men take advantage of women sexually. Readers don't know much about Holden's male role models. He has spent much of his youth in boarding schools, away from his father. His older brother lives on the other edge of the continent. But somehow, perhaps from reading novels, Holden has developed a model of manhood that casts men into two groups: those who exploit women and those who protect women. Holden cannot let go of his worries about Jane, yet his perspective may be skewed. Perhaps nothing happened on the date. Perhaps Jane was attracted to Stradlater and interested in sex. Perhaps Holden is jealous of Stradlater.

This last possibility connects to the second idea. Holden imagines, based solely on musical style, that a nightclub pianist would disrespect him. The hunch causes Holden to think about violently flipping the piano. Holden thinks that Pencey students snub him, including the entire fencing team, and he claims to find this behavior "pretty funny." But it's more likely that Holden feels unfairly overlooked, set aside, and unacknowledged. Ernie and his piano provide Holden a fantasy of getting noticed and respected.

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