The Catcher in the Rye


Chapter 21 to Chapter 26

Chapter 21

Holden makes it home and tells the elevator boy to take him to the neighbor’s apartment so as to cover his tracks. Then he doubles back and opens his parents’ flat with his key and tiptoes to find Phoebe.

Phoebe sleeps in D. B.’s room while he is in Hollywood. She likes it because everything in it is big. Holden turns on the light, reads her notebook, smokes a cigarette and wakes her up. She is extremely pleased to see him. She tells him their parents are out and will not be home till late. Holden is nervous at first but then figures if he gets caught, he gets caught. Phoebe, however, guesses that he was expelled from school and hides herself under her pillow because she is afraid their dad will kill him. She refuses to come out, so Holden leaves the room, picks up some cigarettes from the living room since he is all out, and returns to check on Phoebe.

In this chapter, the special relationship that Holden shares with his sister is made visible. What makes it special is that she obviously loves him and has real affection for him and he, likewise, loves her.

Chapter 22

Phoebe has the pillow off her head when Holden returns but she still will not look at him. All she says is, “Daddy’ll kill you!” Finally she asks, “Oh, why’d you do it!” Holden begins to tell her how awful the school was—how full of pretentious, mean boys, and phony adults. She insists that he does not actually like anything. He says he does. She asks him to tell her something he actually likes. All he can think of, however, are the nuns he met at Grand Central with their straw basket for donations and a boy named James Castle he knew at Elkton Hills, who jumped out a window and died after being bullied by a group of boys. Phoebe continues to tell him to name something he likes. He names Allie and she says he is not alive. Then he says that he likes just sitting with her and talking. She says that is not anything and...

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