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Chapter 19 and 20

Chapter 19

Waiting for Carl Luce at the bar, Holden has a couple of scotch and sodas and notes that the place is full of phonies acting sophisticated. Holden had called up Luce in hopes of intellectual conversation, but when he arrives all the somewhat-drunk Holden does is pester him about his sex life (Luce is several years older, and in college, but in boarding school had regaled the younger students with stories about perversity and homosexuality). When Holden insists on asking for sexual advice, Luce says Holden is immature and, in addition, in need of psychotherapy. After one drink, Luce says he has to leave. Holden wants him to stay, saying, "Please. I'm lonesome as hell," but he goes.

Chapter 20

Holden stays at the bar until one a.m., "getting drunk as a bastard." He decides to call Jane, but changes his mind and calls Sally Hayes instead, waking first her grandmother and then her. She tells him to go home. Instead, he goes into the bar's bathroom and dunks his head in a sinkful of water. In the bathroom he sees the bar's piano-player, who also tells him to go home. At the coat-check, Holden can't find his claim stub, but the woman gives him back his coat and Phoebe's record anyway, and tells him to go home. He goes into Central Park to see if the ducks are gone for the winter yet, but on the way he drops Phoebe's record and it shatters. Not finding any ducks at the little lake, he lies down on a bench, and he worries that he'll get pneumonia (his hair is still wet, and it is December). He wonders what his funeral might be like, drawing on what he heard of his brother Allie's. Holden himself was not there because he was still in the hospital with his broken hand (he broke the windows in the garage in anger when his brother died). We should wonder at this; having to miss the funeral because of a broken hand sounds curious, and either Holden was much more badly hurt than he lets on, or he was possibly in the hospital for psychological reasons as well as physical ones.

Holden says he doesn't go with his parents anymore when they visit Allie's grave. He sadly thinks of Allie's grave getting rained on, with Allie unable to do anything about it. Holden counts his money, and finds he has less than five dollars left. He thinks about how Phoebe would act if he died, then decides he's going to sneak home and see her. The cold has made him feel sober and awake, and he walks briskly home.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4 and 5
Chapter 6 and 7
Chapter 8 and 9
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12 and 13
Chapter 14 and 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17 and 18
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 21 and 22
Chapter 23 and 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26


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