What is ironic about Chapter 9 in the Catcher in the Rye?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 9 of The Catcher in the Rye, it is ironic that:

  • Holden hates most people (he thinks they are phonies), and yet he is very lonely in this chapter.  He calls Faith Cavendish and contemplates calling other girls he knows (Sally Hayes).
  • Holden is running away from home mainly because he is disenfranchised by his school and the society at large, and yet he continues to surround himself by the materialistic, sex-driven "phony" culture that he supposedly hates.
  • Holden is more concerned with the plight of the ducks in the Central Park lagoon than he is about his parents or friends.  Obviously, the ducks are representative of his plight, and his concern reflects his decision to fly away or stay at home.
  • Holden, even though he is a teenager, drinks, smokes, and checks into a very adult hotel without parental supervision or even an ID check.
  • Holden is a voyeur in this chapter: he spies on a man who dresses up like a woman, girls who spit water at each other, and other sundry hotel room escapades.  Even though he drops out of Pency because of his roommates weird habits (Ackley) and hyper-sexual activity (Stradlater), Holden acts just like them here in the hotel.
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The Catcher in the Rye

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