The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis

J. D. Salinger

Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mrs. Caulfield: Holden’s mother

Mrs. Cudahy: Jane’s mother

Mr. Cudahy: Jane’s stepfather

Having paid the check, Holden leaves the Lavender Room and begins thinking about Jane Gallagher. He sits down in a chair in the lobby of the hotel and gets upset again, thinking about what might have happened between Jane Gallagher and Stradlater. He is relatively certain that nothing happened, but he still gets disturbed when he thinks about it. He begins to reminisce about how he met Jane. They were neighbors at their summer homes in Maine the summer before last. He spent a good deal of time with Jane that summer, playing tennis and golf. Although their relationship was not especially romantic, it was intimate. Although they shared much, Jane did not share with him the nature of her conflict with her mother’s husband, which was obviously very upsetting to her.

After this digression about Jane Gallagher, Holden decides to go to Ernie’s, a nightclub in Greenwich Village.

Discussion and Analysis
Holden and Jane Gallagher each seem to have had an unhappy childhood. In Maine, they were comfortable with each other, and enjoyed playing golf, tennis, and other games together. Holden said they shared much; he even showed her Allie’s baseball mitt. But there were limits. For example, Jane did not share with him the problem with her step-father and Holden, in his present moment of crisis, did not reach out to her when she was right on campus that very evening. Although Jane seems to be Holden’s best friend, he does not want her to know that he was kicked out of Pencey Prep. It is difficult to understand how in this mood of attempting to fend off loneliness, he reaches out to Ackley, the taxi driver, the girls in the lounge, but not to Jane. Perhaps Holden is not all that dissatisfied with the phoniness that accompanies superficial relationships. He refuses to engage in the one relationship where he could find authenticity and comfort and, instead, pursues relationships that are guaranteed to be empty and phony at best.