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Catcher in the Rye Summary

Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield is a student at Pencey Preparatory Academy in Pennsylvania in J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Due to his poor academic performance, Holden has been expelled, to depart the school in several days’ time just before the Christmas break. On the last Saturday, Holden has lost the fencing team’s equipment on the subway to New York City.

Catcher in the Rye Summary

Instead of attending the football game, Holden returns to the mostly empty dorm. His roommate Stradlater returns from a date with a girl that Holden used to go out with. The two get into an argument, and Stradlater bloodies Holden’s nose, which causes Holden to decide to take the train into New York and spend the remaining three days in a hotel. On the train, he meets the mother of one of his classmates. Although Holden hates the boy, he tells his mother several made-up stories. Once in New York, he checks into the Edmont Hotel.

From his room, Holden can see into the rooms of other guests, and observes several bizarre incidents. After visiting a jazz club in Greenwich Village, the elevator operator offers to have a prostitute visit Holden’s room. Holden does not want to have sex with her, but pays her five dollars anyway. Soon, she returns with the elevator operator, who punches Holden in the stomach, with the prostitute taking more money from his wallet. Sneaking home, he takes his sister to the zoo, where the novel ends.

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