The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 26: 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 this lesson, we will review Chapter 26, the final chapter of 'The Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger. We will find out what happens when Holden Caulfield finally goes home.

Coming Home

At this point in the story, Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old student who has just been expelled from his fourth school, has been facing an existential crisis as he prepares to go home for the winter break. He is ready to take off to live a life of isolation when his little sister, Phoebe, convinces him that it is time to come home.

Holden is spending some time in the hospital to heal before returning to school in the Fall.

Holden is Finished Talking

Holden Caulfield has decided he is finished telling his story. He has no plans to let the reader know which school he is going to next year or about his illness.

  • 'I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it.' (Holden)

The clause 'after I get out of here' leads you to believe he has been hospitalized. Is his illness physical, mental, or a combination of the two?

Has Holden Learned Anything?

Holden complains that one of the psychoanalysts keeps asking about his plans for next year.

  • 'I mean how do you know what you're going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don't. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it's a stupid question.' (Holden)

D.B., Holden's brother who writes movies in Hollywood, came to visit Holden last week. Even he asked some questions.

  • 'I didn't know what the hell to say. If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it.' (Holden)

Holden Misses Everyone

Holden wishes he hadn't told everyone his story because once he started talking about it, he began missing all the people he met along the way.

  • 'Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.' (Holden)

Has Holden learned to stop hating everyone and everything?

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