The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 18 Summary and Analysis
by J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 18 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Al Pike: Jane Gallagher’s date at a Fourth of July dance

Bob Robinson: a friend of Holden’s who had an inferiority complex

Holden leaves the skating rink and goes to a drugstore to get something to eat. He considers calling Jane Gallagher to ask her to go dancing. Thinking of Jane reminds him of a story about Jane and her date, Al Pike, at a Fourth of July dance. Not surprisingly, Holden was critical of Al in front of Jane, labeling him as a show-off. Jane excused Al’s behavior by saying he was not a show-off, but had an inferiority complex. In an effort to explain to the reader the difference between someone with an inferiority complex and a show-off, Holden describes his friend Bob Robinson. He really did have an inferiority complex since he felt inferior because his parents were uneducated and not wealthy.

Holden calls Jane but there is no answer. He then calls Carl Luce, a fellow whom Holden remembers (but, of course, does not like) from Whooton, who is now attending Columbia University. They agree to meet at 10:00 p.m. at the Wicker Bar for drinks.

In order to pass the time until then, Holden goes to Radio City to see a movie. He is critical of the Christmas show as well as the movie. The Christmas show is a gaudy pseudo-religious spectacle. The movie is about an Englishman, who was wounded in the war and loses his memory. But in the end he regains his memory, gets the girl, and they all live happily ever after. After the movie, Holden begins walking to the Wicker Bar. On the way, he thinks about war and his brother D.B.’s experiences in the army. Holden concludes that he is opposed to war, but not necessarily from principle. He is opposed to war because, as a soldier, he would have to associate with undesirables, like Ackley, Stradlater, and Maurice.

Discussion and Analysis
While most people would be quite upset by the quarrel he had with Sally, it does not seem to bother Holden. He does not even mention her in this chapter. Holden feels no remorse for hurting her. Yet he is critical of the insensitivity of the woman sitting next to him in the theater. Although she cries throughout the movie, she will not inconvenience herself to take her child to the restroom.

Even though he does not reach her, Holden is at least trying to call Jane Gallagher. Up to this point, he has not been “in the mood.” But she is still out of reach. Thinking of Jane reminds him...

(The entire section is 679 words.)