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Chapter 6 and 7

Chapter 6

Holden is awake, worrying about Jane being out with Stradlater, when Stradlater returns from his date, saying nothing about Jane or the date. Stradlater reads the composition Holden wrote for him, then tells Holden he should have written it about a room or a house or something normal, and exasperatedly suggests that doing things "backasswards" is what got him kicked out. Though he doesn't say so, it's evident that Holden is angered by this remark and that the description of his dead little brother's baseball mitt is special to him. Holden simply responds by grabbing the composition away from Stradlater and tearing it up. Both of them are quiet, and Holden lights up a cigarette to annoy Stradlater.

He asks what Stradlater did on his date with Jane. Stradlater says they just sat in the car. Holden, his voice shaking, asks if he had sex with her ("gave her the time" Holden calls it), and when Stradlater coyly won't deny it, Holden leaps up and throws a punch at his roommate. Stradlater quickly pins him to the ground. After he eventually lets Holden up, Holden continues to yell at him, and Stradlater punches him in the face, knocking him down again. Holden lies on the floor until Stradlater leaves to go to the bathroom, and then he goes next door into Ackley's room.

Chapter 7

Ackley complains that Holden's fight with Stradlater woke him up. Holden turns on the light, and Ackley sees the blood on Holden's face from the bloody nose Stradlater gave him. Ackley keeps asking what the fight was about, but Holden won't answer, and instead tries to talk him into staying up and playing canasta. Holden asks Ackley's permission to sleep in Ackley's roommate's bed (he is away for the weekend), but Ackley won't let him. Holden lies down on it for awhile anyway, but can't stop thinking about Jane with Stradlater in a parked car somewhere. Holden once double-dated with Stradlater, and he knows how Stradlater used a sort of false sincerity (Holden calls it his Abraham Lincoln voice) to get his way with girls. This combines the two things Holden seems to hate the most: hypocrisy and taking advantage of the innocent.

Holden hears Stradlater come back to the room and go to bed. Holden wakes up Ackley again, whispering so Stradlater can't hear him in the adjoining room. He asks Ackley (who is Catholic) whether one needs to be Catholic to join a monastery - Holden says he's thinking about joining. Ackley thinks that he's being made fun of, but Holden is seriously (although only briefly) thinking about it.

Holden leaves Ackley's room and decides to leave Pencey tonight rather than wait until Christmas break begins on Wednesday, even though it is nearly midnight. He decides to go into New York City and get a hotel room until Wednesday. By then his parents will have gotten the letter from the headmaster and have had time for it to settle in. So Holden returns to his room and finishes packing his two suitcases and leaves, all without waking Stradlater up. Holden lingers over packing up a pair of brand new ice skates his mother had just sent him and which he hadn't even had a chance to use yet: "I could see my mother going into Spaulding's and asking the salesman a million dopy questions-and here I was getting the ax again. It made me feel pretty sad.... Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad."

At the top of the stairs, Holden takes a last look down the dorm hallway. He is crying a bit, but he puts on his red hunting hat and yells "Sleep tight, ya morons!" at the top of his voice, and takes off running down the stairs.

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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