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"There's no more to Holden Caulfield. Read the book again. It's all there. Holden Caulfield is only a frozen moment in time".

JD Salinger, 1980




The Catcher in the Rye / Chronology


Three Days around Christmas


New York City

  • Goes to New York City for fencing match (Morning)
  • Leaves the fencing equipment on the subway.
  • Holden buys the red hunting hat.

Pency Prep. Agerstown, Pennsylvania

  • Returns to Pency (abt. 2:30)
  • Stands on Thompson Hill
  • Visits Mr. Spencer to say goodbye. Spencer lectures him.
  • Returns to dorm. Conversations with Ackley and Stradlater
  • Goes into town with Brossard and Ackley
  • Returns to the dorm to write Stradlater's composition
  • Stradlater returns from date with Jane Gallagher.
  • Holden has a fist-fight with Stradlater over Jane Gallagher.
  • Holden Wakes up Ackley (11:30)
  • Decides to leave Pency for New York City
  • Sells his typewriter for twenty dollars
  • Holden leaves Pency. "sleep tight, ya morons!" (abt. midnight)



Agerstown to New York City

  • Boards train to New York City
  • Meets Ernest Morrow's mother, becomes Rudolf Schmidt.

New York City

  • Arrives at Penn Station. Calls Sally Hayes
  • Grabs a taxi. Asks cabbie about the Central Park ducks.
  • Checks in at the Edmont Hotel. Finds the hotel full of perverts.
  • Holden calls Faith Cavendish
  • Goes to the Lavendar Room. Meets Marty, Laverne, and Bernice Kregs. They stick him with the check.
  • Leaves the Lavendar Room. Wants to call Jane Gallagher but doesn't.
  • Grabs a taxi to Ernie's in Greenwich Village. Asks cabbie (Horowitz) about the Central Park ducks.
  • Holden at Ernie's, which is full of jerks. Meets Lillian Simmons (an old girlfriend of D.B.) and Captain Blop.
  • Holden walks two miles back to the Edmont hotel.
  • At the hotel he meets the elevator operator, Ernie. Ernie offers to set Holden up with a prostitute for five dollars.
  • Sunny, the prostitute arrives at Holden's room. Holden pays the five dollars just to talk.
  • Sunny leaves. Holden sits in a chair and talks to Allie.
  • Holden goes to bed and tries to pray.
  • Maurice and Sunny are at the door. They want five more dollars. Holden refuses and has a fist-fight with Maurice. They take the money and leave.
  • Holden pretends he has bullets in his gut. Goes to sleep.



New York City

  • Holden wakes up after a short sleep. (abt.10:00)
  • Calls Sally Hayes and makes a date with her for that afternoon.
  • Holden checks out of the Edmont.
  • Grabs a taxi to Grand Central Station. Stores his luggage in a locker there.
  • Goes to a nearby "sandwich bar" for breakfast. During breakfast he meets two nuns. After a conversation Holden donates ten dollars to the nuns and tries to pick up their check.
  • Holden leaves the sandwich bar and walks down Broadway. There, he encounters a father, mother, and little boy walking down the street. The little boy is singing "If a body catch a body coming through the rye". (abt. noon)
  • Stops into a record store and buys recording of "Little Shirley Beans" for Phoebe.
  • Goes to the theater and buys two tickets for the play "I Know My Love" for his date with Sally Hayes.
  • Goes to Central Park looking for Phoebe.
  • Still looking for Phoebe, Holden walks across the park to the Museum of Natural History. He decides not to go into the museum.
  • Holden takes a taxi to the Biltmore and meets Sally Hayes.
  • (2:00) They go to the theater to see the play which is starring the Lunts. During intermission Sally meets an old friend, George "something".
  • After the play, Sally and Holden go ice skating at Radio City. They have an argument over sodas.
  • After the date, Holden stops at a drug store to eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted. Tries calling Jane Gallagher but there is no answer.
  • Holden calls Carl Luce. They make plans for drinks that night.
  • Holden goes to the movies at Radio City. Watches the Christmas pagent and the movie. Notices a woman crying over the movie, but ignoring her little son.
  • (10:00) Meets Carl Luce at The Wicker Bar on 54th Street. They have an argument. Holden stays at the bar after Carl Luce leaves.
  • Holden gets very drunk at The Wicker Bar. He calls Sally Hayes and pretends his gut is full of bullets. In the men's room, some flitty guy cautions Holden to go home.
  • Holden leaves The Wicker Bar.(abt. 1:00)
  • Holden wanders around Central Park. He goes to the lagoon. He drops the "Little Shirly Beans" record, breaking it. Decides to sneak home to see Phoebe.



New York City

  • Holden walks home and sneaks into the apartment. He wakes up Phoebe.
  • Holden gives Phoebe the pieces of the broken record. They have a long conversation. Phoebe guesses that Holden's been kicked out of school. Holden tells Phoebe his dream of being the catcher in the rye.
  • He gives Phoebe his hunting hat. Holden calls Mr. Antolini from the apartment.
  • Holden returns to Phoebe's room. He tells her his plans of going out west. She gives him her Christmas money.
  • Holden's parents come home. He avoids them and leaves the apartment.
  • Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's. They have a long conversation.
  • Holden goes to bed on the Antolini's couch. He is woken up by Mr. Antolini petting him.
  • Holden leaves Mr. Antolini's very shaken. (abt. 5:00)



New York City

  • Holden walks to Grand Central Station
  • He sleeps on a bench in the Grand Central Station waiting room.
  • (9:00) Holden wakes up and walks up Fifth Avenue. He feels himself dissapearing and prays to Allie. Plans to go out west.
  • Buys paper and pen at a stationary store and writes Phoebe a letter to meet him at the museum at 12:15.
  • Goes to Phoebe's school. Delivers the letter to the office who will give it to Phoebe. Holden sees the graffitti.
  • Holden goes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to wait for Phoebe. He meets two young boys there. They visit the mummy exhibition. More graffitti.
  • (12:10) Holden waits for Phoebe at the museum entrance.
  • (12:35) Phoebe arrives. She is wearing Holden's red hunting hat and is carrying a bag. She tells Holden that she is going with him out west. They argue.
  • Holden follows Phoebe as they enter Central Park. Holden gives in. He will not leave home. Phoebe follows Holden to the Central Park Zoo.
  • Phoebe rides the Central Park Carousel as Holden watches. It begins to pour but Holden will not move out of the rain. Overwhelmed by happiness, he cries.

Salinger's Catcher in the Rye... expresses so completely what I have tried to say: a youth, father to what will, must someday be a man, more intelligent than some and more sensitive than most, who (he would not even have called it by instinct because he did not know he possessed it) because God perhaps had put it there, loved man and wished to be a part of mankind, humanity, who tried to join the human race and failed. To me, his tragedy was not that he was, as he perhaps thought, not tough enough or brave enough or deserving enough to be accepted into humanity. His tragedy was that when he attempted to enter the human race, there was no human race there.

William Faulkner