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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 23: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In Chapter 23 of the J.D. Salinger novel, ''The Catcher in the Rye'', Holden Caulfield is not yet ready to face his parents after being expelled from Pencey Prep.

Holden Visits Phoebe

Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield has been expelled from multiple schools for failing classes and is avoiding going home for winter break to face his parents. At the beginning of Chapter 23 in J.D. Salinger's novel of teenage angst, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden has snuck into his parent's apartment to visit his little sister, Phoebe, while his parents are away at a party. Will he be caught? What would happen if he was?

Holden Calls Mr. Antolini

Holden makes a quick phone call to his favorite former English teacher, Mr. Antolini, afraid that if he takes too long, his parents may come home and find him. It takes Mr. Antolini a while to answer the phone, so he was probably sleeping. When Holden explains that he has been kicked out of Pencey, Mr. Antolini invites him over. Mr. Antolini is the one who carried James Castle's body away when James jumped out of his window to his death. According to Holden: 'Old Mr. Antolini felt his pulse and all, and then he took off his coat and put it over James Castle and carried him all the way over to the infirmary. He didn't even give a damn if his coat got all bloody.'

Holden's Parents Return Home

After calling Mr. Antolini, Holden returns to Phoebe, who has turned on the radio to some dance music. Holden taught Phoebe to dance, and she's pretty good at it: 'She stays right with you. You can cross over, or do some corny dips, or even jitterbug a little, and she stays right with you. You can even tango, for God's sake.' After dancing together to several songs, Holden turns off the radio, and Phoebe jumps back into bed. Phoebe is the first to hear their parents come in the front door. Holden turns off the light, fans his cigarette smoke, and hides in the closet.

When their mother comes in, she tells Phoebe that she knows she is awake because she saw the light and asks if Phoebe has been smoking. Phoebe makes up a story about lighting one, taking one puff, and then throwing it out the window. After a brief conversation about Phoebe's evening, their mother dismisses herself with complaints of a headache. Their mother gets a lot of headaches since Allie died.

Holden Sneaks Out

Feeling nervous, Holden begins to put on his shoes and get ready to go. Phoebe loans Holden all eight dollars and sixty-five cents that she has saved to buy Christmas presents. She tells him to pay her back when he comes to watch her show on Friday. How many people do you know that would give you every dime they had?

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