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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye


by J. D. Salinger

Phoebe Caulfield Timeline and Summary

  • When Holden gets off the train at Penn Station, Phoebe is one of the people he thinks about calling. He decides not to, since she's a little kid and will be asleep at this time of night.
  • Before he goes into the Lavender Room at the Edmont Hotel, Holden again wishes he could call Phoebe.
  • He digresses about his sister. He explains that she's ten and skinny and really smart; she knows the difference between a good movie and a bad one, is emotional, writes little stories, and always knows exactly what you're talking about.
  • Holden buys the Little Shirley Beans record for his sister Phoebe.
  • Since he's waiting for his date with Sally, Holden looks for Phoebe in the park and meets another little girl that knows his sister.
  • Holden breaks the record that he bought for Phoebe.
  • While drunk and freezing in the park Sunday night, one of the reasons Holden doesn't want to die is that Phoebe would "miss the hell out of him."
  • Holden sneaks home and watches Phoebe for a bit. She a cute sleeper. He reads all her notebooks, which are equally cute.
  • Once he wakes her up, Phoebe rattles on about the Christmas Pageant she's going to be in. She plays the momentous part of Benedict Arnold.
  • She asks for the pieces of the broken record he bought her.
  • Once she figures out that Holden got kicked out of school, Phoebe puts a pillow over her face and refuses to talk to him.
  • Finally, she gives in and asks why he got booted again.
  • She tells Holden that he doesn't like anyone or anything, and that Allie doesn't count since he's dead.
  • Phoebe corrects Holden in his altered rendition of "If a body meet a body" and tells him that it's a poem by Robert Burns.
  • While Holden is hiding from their parents, Phoebe talks with their mom and takes the rap for the cigarette smoke.
  • Phoebe offers Holden her Christmas money. When he starts bawling, she puts her arm around him and won't let go until he stops.
  • After receiving Holden's good-bye note, Phoebe shows up to meet with him with a big suitcase. She's packed her clothes and wants to go with him.
  • Holden yells at her, saying that she can't come with him. Phoebe cries and pouts for a bit, but still follows him (from across the street) when he walks to the zoo.
  • By the time they get to the carousel, she's forgiven him. Phoebe rides the carousel twice, gives Holden his hunting hat back, and asks him to "please" keep her Christmas money for her.