Study Guide

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 23

By J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 23

  • Holden calls up Mr. Antolini. In the middle of the night. Mr. Antolini says, sure, come on over!
  • Given how this started, we're not sure why Holden is so surprised by what happens at the end of this little visit, but, whatever.
  • Mr. Antolini is the greatest teacher he's ever had. He's a young guy (not much older than D.B.) and a big kidder.
  • When that James Castle jumped out of the window, Holden tell us, Mr. Antolini was the only one to actually do anything about it (check his pulse and carry the body over the infirmary), even though his coat got all bloody in the process.
  • When Holden gets back to Phoebe's room, she's turned on the radio. The two of them dance for a bit. Phoebe, of course, is an awesome dancer.
  • She's busy demonstrating how she can make her forehead feel feverish when they hear the front door opening. Holden tries to fan the smoke away before jumping into the closet.
  • Their mother comes into the room, asking why Phoebe's awake at this hour and if she was smoking a cigarette.
  • Phoebe says she just took one puff and then threw it out the window. Her mother doesn't approve, but surprisingly there's no crazed screaming. Seems smoking wasn't that big of a deal back then, even for elementary students.
  • There's some chit-chat over aspirins and lamb chops, and finally Mrs. Caulfield leaves for bed.
  • Holden comes out of the closet and asks Phoebe if she's got any money (he's broke, and leaving again).
  • All she's got is her Christmas money, for shopping, which Holden doesn't want to take from her. She insists that he take the eight dollars and eighty-five cents.
  • Then she clarifies—it's only eight dollars and sixty-five cents, since she spent some already.
  • Apparently, this is Holden's last straw. He cries and cries. Phoebe hugs him, and he gives her his red hunting hat. Aw.

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