CliffsNotes The Catcher in the Rye

By Stanley P. Baldwin | Go to book overview

Chapter 15

Summary

Holden awakes around 10:00 Sunday morning. He phones an old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, and makes a date to meet her at 2:00 p.m. to catch a theater matinee. Holden checks out of the hotel and leaves his bags at a lock box in Grand Central Station. While eating a large breakfast (orange juice, bacon and eggs, toast and coffee) at a sandwich bar, he meets two nuns who are schoolteachers from Chicago, newly assigned to a convent “way the hell uptown,” apparently near Washington Heights. They discuss Romeo and Juliet, and Holden gives them a donation of ten dollars.


Commentary

Holden is confused about women, and that shows in his relationship with Sally Hayes. Sally is everything that Jane Gallagher is not: conventional, superficial, stupid, and phony. She knows about theater and literature, and for a while that fooled Holden into thinking she was intelligent. But she uses words like “grand,”—as in, “I’d love to. Grand.”—and annoys with her pretense. Briefly, Holden wishes he had not called her. However, Sally is someone to spend the day with, and she is very good-looking. Holden is both drawn to and repelled by her. At least he knows what to expect.

Holden dislikes the theater almost as much as the movies. Both are contrived and artificial, and the audiences applaud for the wrong reasons, just as they did at Ernie’s. The meeting with the nuns further reveals Holden’s aesthetics, his sense of taste in the arts. Because one of the nuns is an English teacher, they begin to discuss Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. It is no surprise that Holden’s favorite character is Mercutio, Romeo’s glib, subversive best friend. Holden resents betrayal, even accidental betrayal, and he dislikes Romeo after the hero inadvertently causes Tybalt to kill Mercutio. Mercutio is Holden’s kind of guy: bright and fun, a bit of a smart-mouth. Holden finds the drama “quite moving,” but we suspect that he would have preferred a play in which Mercutio is the main character.

-51-

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CliffsNotes The Catcher in the Rye
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • CliffsNotes™ The Catcher in the Rye i
  • Table of Contents iii
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Author 1
  • Introduction to the Novel 7
  • Criticalcommentaries 21
  • Chapter 1 22
  • Chapter 2 25
  • Chapter 3 28
  • Chapter 4 31
  • Chapter 5 33
  • Chapters 6 and 7 35
  • Chapters 8 and 9 37
  • Chapter 10 41
  • Chapter 11 43
  • Chapter 12 45
  • Chapter 13 47
  • Chapter 14 49
  • Chapter 15 51
  • Chapter 16 53
  • Chapter 17 56
  • Chapters 18 and 19 59
  • Chapter 20 61
  • Chapter 21 63
  • Chapter 22 65
  • Chapter 23 68
  • Chapter 24 70
  • Chapters 25 and 26 73
  • Character Analyses 77
  • Critical Essays 85
  • CliffsNotes Review 93
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 96
  • Index 99
  • Notes 103
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