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The Catcher in the Rye | Study Guide

J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 9

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of chapter 9 of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye.

The Catcher in the Rye | Chapter 9 | Summary



In the city, Holden wants to talk to someone, but he can't think of anyone who wouldn't tell his parents that he'd left school early. He irritates the cab driver by asking where the ducks in Central Park go when the pond is frozen. Holden gets a room at the Edmont Hotel, removing his red hat before checking in so that he doesn't look peculiar. Looking back, he finds this ironic because the hotel was "full of perverts and morons." An overweight man carries Holden's bags to a cheap, ugly room, and Holden looks out the window into other rooms. He sees a man cross-dress and view himself in a mirror, and he sees a couple spitting water at each other and laughing, which puzzles and disgusts him.

He considers calling Jane but decides he isn't in the mood. Then he remembers that a Princeton student had given him the number of a stripper, Faith Cavendish, so he calls her. She answers but refuses Holden's offer to meet for a drink because he sounds young.


Holden is alone in New York City. He knows parts of the city well, but not the seedier sections where hotels like the Edmont are. He sees activities that perplex, disgust, and fascinate him. Perhaps because he has attended sex-segregated schools, Holden has no compass to navigate the world of dating.

Holden's attempts to get a date in this chapter are telling. He considers calling Sally Hayes, a girl who sent him a letter about visiting at Christmas, but Sally's mother thinks he is "wild." He wants to call Jane and pretend to the dorm matron that Jane's aunt has died and he must speak to Jane right away, but he worries that he can't handle it right. The call Holden finally makes thrusts him back into the role-playing that he used with Mrs. Morrow on the train, pretending to be a worldly, experienced man. But like Mrs. Morrow, Faith Cavendish treats him as a youngster as she makes excuses to hang up. Holden, who complains of adult phoniness, is not yet secure enough in his identity to present himself sincerely. He is just experimenting with adult roles—so far.

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