The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

J. D. Salinger

Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Bernice: one of the girls whom Holden met in the Lavender Room; blonde and a good dancer

Marty: one of the girls whom Holden met in the Lavender Room; a poor dancer

Laverne: one of the girls whom Holden met in the Lavender Room

Holden spends a considerable amount of time talking to the reader about Phoebe, but dismisses the idea of calling her on the telephone. Instead, he goes downstairs to the Lavender Room, a lounge in the hotel. He is seated next to a table of three girls from Seattle, who are visiting New York City. He dances with them and tries to strike up a conversation, but they show little interest in him. They are interested only in spotting celebrities in the night club. Finally they decide to go to bed because they are going to the first show at Radio City Music Hall the next day. Holden is left to pay the bill.

Discussion and Analysis
Holden contrasts his ten-year-old sister Phoebe’s depth, maturity, and intelligence with the shallowness of three ordinary girls from Seattle. Phoebe sounds like a candidate for sainthood, as did Allie, when Holden described him in an earlier chapter. The innocence of children has a strong attraction for Holden. The adult world is still repulsive to him, counterfeit, and full of pretense. The band was “putrid,” there were “whory-looking blondes” and “pimply-looking guys.” Most of the people in the lounge were “old, show-offy-looking guys with their dates.” Holden is critical of the girls for being superficial—constantly on the lookout for celebrities and attending an early daytime show at Radio City Music Hall, which he regards as touristic. Yet he is trying to impress them, much as he tried to impress Mrs. Morrow on the train. On one level, he is critical of the people in the hotel and lounge, yet, on another, he is indistinguishable from them. Holden is conventional while he casts stones at conventionality. He is smoking cigarettes, trying to order alcoholic beverages, and trying to appear “cool,” sophisticated, and worldly. But Holden is deeply disturbed as he finds himself simultaneously seduced and repulsed by the hollow values of the adult world.