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The Catcher in the Rye | Study Guide

J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 7

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of chapter 7 of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye.

The Catcher in the Rye | Chapter 7 | Summary



Holden stumbles into Ackley's darkened room, nose bleeding, and asks to sleep in Ackley's roommate's bed. Holden, suddenly lonely, claims that he fought Stradlater because his roommate accused Ackley of having a "lousy personality." Then he lies on the other bed and frets about Jane and Stradlater as Ackley snores.

Holden hears Stradlater enter the room and go to bed; he feels so lonely that he wakes Ackley up. They argue briefly, and then Holden leaves. Holden can't stand the quiet, lonely dorm and decides to find a cheap hotel in the city and lie low for a few days before facing his parents. Then, "sort of crying," he yells, "Sleep tight, ya morons!" and leaves the dorm, nearly tripping on his way out.


Readers get insight into Holden's thoughts through extreme statements such as "People never notice anything" and "People never believe you." These statements show that Holden is perceptive about human behavior but that he tends to generalize. In this chapter his extreme statements, including asking Ackley how one joins a monastery, reveal the discomfort Holden feels in relationships. This question reflects Holden's extreme fantasy that he can avoid the transition into the complicated, sexually charged, often exploitative adult world.

Yet despite his tendency to generalize, Holden is not wrong about the "phony" behavior he sees around him. The handsome Stradlater moves into adulthood by pressuring girls for sex by acting sincerely interested in them. Holden recoils from this behavior not because he is childish but because it is exploitive and selfish.

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