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Free Study Guide-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger-Free BookNotes
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Chapter 18

Summary

After Sally leaves, Holden realizes he is hungry and goes into a drugstore to buy a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. While in the drugstore, he decides to give Jane Gallagher another call. Since he is free all evening, he thinks it would be nice to get together with her, but she is not home. Holden then goes through his entire address book looking for someone to call. Finally he decides to call Carl Luce, his academic advisor from the Whooten School. He arranges to meet Carl for a drink at ten o’clock. Holden does not particularly like Carl, but says he is in the mood for some intellectual conversation. Holden then decides to see a movie to pass the time. Holden enjoys neither the movie nor the Christmas special presented beforehand. He leaves the cinema and seems dissatisfied with all of mankind.


Notes

Holden does not appear particularly upset over the failure of his date with Sally. In fact, he decides to get together with Jane Gallagher. When he calls her, she is not home. More out of boredom than anything else, Holden calls Carl Luce, a guy he admits he does like very much; Holden says it is because he is in the mood for intelligent conversation, but in reality it seems there is no one else Holden can think of who might agree to see him. Carl, for his part, is too busy to dine with Holden, but agrees to get together for a quick drink.

In the meantime, Holden goes to see a movie and spouts some more of his philosophy about movies and phonies. A woman in the theater cries throughout the movie, which would seem to indicate she is tender-hearted; but Holden has seen her ignore her small child’s pleas to go to the bathroom and knows that she is not a kind-hearted lady. She is just another phony in a cruel world. As Holden leaves the theater, he thinks about war, since the film seems to deal with the subject. He believes that Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell To Arms falls into the same mushy kind of sentimental category that the film does, for it romanticizes war in a phony way. He does not understand how D.B. or anyone else can appreciate such supposed works of art or even compare them to really great works like The Great Gatsby. Holden decides that romance and the Christmas spirit are two of the worst instances of phoniness. When he leaves the cinema, he is feeling even more depressed.

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