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Chapter 8 and 9

Chapter 8

It is so late that he can't call a cab, so he walks to the train station. He says he normally gets a pulp magazine and reads some of the stories: "You know. One of those dumb stories with a lot of phony, lean-jawed guys named David in it, and a lot of phony, lean-jawed girls named Linda or Marcia that are always lighting all the goddam Davids' pipes for them." This time, however, he just sits quietly. A well-dressed, middle-aged woman gets on the train at Trenton, and sits near Holden. She notices a Pencey Prep sticker on his luggage, and asks Holden if he knows her son, who is in Holden's class. Holden thinks that her son is "doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey," but Holden takes a vague liking to the woman, and so he builds her son up with compliments. He gives her a cigarette, and goes on to tell her that her son is one of the most popular boys at Pencey, and that they had wanted to nominate him for class president but that he was too modest to accept. Holden tries to talk the mother into going to the club car for cocktails, but she gently suggests that he is too young to drink and that the club car is probably closed by now anyway. She then asks why he is going home early for Christmas vacation, and Holden makes up a story about having to have an operation to remove a brain tumor. She gets off in Newark, wishes him luck, and invites him to visit them over summer vacation, but Holden lies that he's going to South America for the summer.

Chapter 9

When Holden arrives in New York's Penn Station, it is late at night. He goes into a phone booth, but can't figure out who to call so late. He thinks about calling his kid sister, Phoebe, but knows that his parents will pick up. He thinks about calling Jane's mother to find out when she gets into town for Christmas break, but decides it is too late to call. He also considers calling Sally Hayes (the girl whose picture Ackley admires in chapter three), but is worried her mother will pick up. Instead, Holden leaves the train station and gets a cab.

He takes a cab, and on the way asks the driver if he knows what happens in winter to the ducks in the Central Park lagoon. The driver responds curtly, thinking Holden is trying to kid around with him, but Holden means the question sincerely. He then asks if the driver wants to join him for a drink, and the driver again replies with a curt negative. Holden checks into a hotel, and gets a room facing the other wing of the hotel. From his room he can see into other rooms, and he concludes that the hotel is "lousy with perverts." He sees one man dressing up in high heels and an evening gown, and sees another room in which a man and a woman are spitting water on each other. Holden takes the opportunity to moralize briefly about sex, and why "crumby stuff" like squirting water on a girl is disrespectful, but acknowledges that he might do something similar in the right circumstances.

Thinking about sex prompts him to consider calling Jane long distance at school, but he ultimately rejects the idea. He actually does get up the nerve to call a girl named Faith Cavendish, a girl who "wasn't exactly a whore or anything but that didn't mind doing it once in a while." Holden doesn't know her, but got her number from a guy he met at Princeton. He calls her so late that she is not willing to meet him that night, and suggests tomorrow. Faced with the prospect of actually meeting up with her, Holden seems to backtrack, and insists on that night, so she declines.

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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