From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
This chapter is set in October 1943, and it's "a beautiful day with the buoyancy of a bird" (7.1). Holly and the narrator spend the day together in the city – they have drinks at Joe Bell's bar, watch a parade on Fifth Avenue, eat lunch in the park, and walk around the lake. They don't go to the zoo (it sounds as though they're in Central Park) because Holly can't "bear to see anything in a cage" (7.1), but they spend the afternoon talking about each other's childhoods.
Surprisingly, Holly talks about her childhood, but not so surprisingly, she reveals nothing specific. The narrator describes it as "elusive, nameless, placeless, an impressionistic recital" (7.2). The picture she paints isn't what the narrator expects from a girl who ran away from home at fourteen – it's "an almost voluptuous account of swimming and summer, Christmas trees, pretty cousins and parties: in short, happy in a way that she was not" (7.2). We never know if Holly is making this up or if she's describing her actual childhood, but the narrator doesn't think it goes with the girl he knows.
Talking about her childhood reminds Holly of her brother Fred, and she decides that she wants to send him some peanut butter since it's such a rare treat during the war (take a look at Shmoop's US History guide to "World War II: Home Front" to find out about what things were like in the U.S. during the war).
They're able to scrape together just a few jars of peanut butter (guess we shouldn't take those jars of Skippy for granted, should we?) and then the narrator takes Holly to an antique store to see the elaborate bird cage that he admired when he first moved to the apartment. Holly appreciates the "fantasy" (7.4) of it, but she doesn't really like it since "[...] still, it's a cage" (7.4) (she really, really doesn't like feeling closed in, does she?).
They keep walking around the city and Holly decides that they should do a little shoplifting for fun. Since it's October there are Halloween decorations in the local Woolworth's, so they go in, they each put a mask on, and then they simply walk out of the drugstore.
Once they're out of the store, they run "to make it more dramatic" (7.5), and the narrator realizes that he likes the feeling of stealing something, that "successful theft exhilarates" (7.5). The narrator asks Holly if she's done much shoplifting and she tells him that she used to have to steal but now she just does it "sort of to keep [her] hand in" (7.5).
In a final detail that seems pretty important, the narrator tells us that he and Holly "wore masks all the way home" (7.6).