Study Guide

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 10

By J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 10

  • Holden changes his shirt so he can go downstairs to the Lavender Room. He wishes he could call his little sister Phoebe, except it's late and she's probably sleeping.
  • Apparently Phoebe is the smartest kid ever. Actually, so is D.B., and so was Allie, so Holden is the only one who isn't, he tells us.
  • Phoebe's ten and "roller-skate skinny." The good thing about her is that she always knows what you're talking about and can tell the difference between a good movie and a bad one. She's very emotional, he adds, and writes short stories about a girl named Hazel ("Hazle," she spells it).
  • Basically, she's amazing and "really kills" Holden and in fact anybody with any sense.
  • Holden makes it down to the Lavender Room, hates the band, but doesn't mind the blonde across the room.
  • He tries to order a drink and once again gets the old "What are you, twelve?" So he ends up with a coke.
  • Holden goes back to eyeing the blonde, who's sitting at a table with two other giggling women. He finally walks over and asks if anyone would like to dance, even though the three of them are a bunch of "morons."
  • The blonde is a good dancer, but a moron. She just drones on about how she and her girlfriends saw an actor, Peter Lorre, buying a newspaper the other night.
  • Holden, still impressed with her dancing, if not her conversational abilities, kisses her on the top of "her dopey head," which irritates the girl.
  • He asks her where she's from (Seattle), and tells her (sarcastically) that she's a good conversationalist. She doesn't get it, so he lets it go.
  • When she asks how old he is, Holden swears and then has to apologize for his language.
  • Ugh, girls. Every time they do something cute he ends up half in love with them, even though they're "sort of stupid."
  • Love ya too, Holds.
  • He sits down with the ladies and says his name is Jim Steele. And he still thinks they're idiots.
  • The cute blonde is named Bernice, and other two girls (Marty and Laverne) are not attractive. Our smooth operator manages to insult both of them by asking if they're sisters, since apparently neither wants to think she's as unattractive as the other.
  • Holden ends up dancing with all three of them and amusing himself by pretending to see movie stars all over the place. As in, "Look! Gary Cooper! Aw, you just missed him."
  • Finally, they all take off and stick Holden with the tab—thirteen bucks, which was a lot back then (remember, he sold his typewriter for twenty).
  • Mostly, he's depressed that they came all the way from Seattle, Washington to wear ugly hats and get up early the next morning to see the first show at Radio City Music Hall. It's possibly the most depressing thing he's ever heard.
  • (We're thinking that's because he's never read his own book, because we're pretty sure this is the most depressing thing we've ever heard.)
  • So he leaves.

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