The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 8 Summary
- Holden walks in the cold to the train station. He likes trains at night, since it's the only time he can read those dumb stories in the cheap magazines without puking.
- He takes his hat off. (Are you paying attention to this hat? We certainly are.)
- On the train, Holden strikes up conversation with an attractive older woman on the train, whose son, Ernest Morrow, goes to his school.
- Ernest, of course, is the biggest jerk in the history of mankind—but Holden lies to the woman, telling her his own name is Rudolf Schmidt (the janitor in his dorm) and going on and on about what a wonderful boy Ernest is.
- Holden offers the woman a cigarette and then admires the way she smokes.
- She asks about Holden's nose (which has just started bleeding again), and he tells her he got hit in the face by a snowball.
- He makes up more stories about what a wonderful guy Ernest is and offers to buy Mrs. Ernest's Mom a drink. She gives him the, "Um, what are you, twelve?" in the nicest way possible.
- Why is Holden is going home for Christmas so early (it's Saturday, and the kids are supposed to leave Wednesday), anyway?
- She looks worried, which Holden says means really she's just nosy. So, he gives her something to nose about: he says he has to have an operation to remove a tumor on his brain. He then has to start reading a timetable he's got in his pocket because it's the only way he can stop himself from lying.
- The woman goes back to reading Vogue, but before they part ways, she invites Holden (or Rudolf) to come visit her son Ernest in Massachusetts sometime during the summer.
- Aw, too bad he has to go to South America with his grandmother this summer. Bummer!