Catcher in the Rye Chapters 25 - 26 Summary

After leaving in a mad terror from Mr. Antaloni's apartment, Holden sleeps on a bench in Grand Central Station. He has been experiencing fainting spells, dizziness, and nausea. He tells us that we should never try sleeping on a bench in Grand Central Station. He says, "Don't ever try it. I mean it. It'll depress you."

As Holden recovers from the shock of waking up to find his teacher stroking his hair, he starts to reexamine Mr. Antaloni's motives. Holden starts to feel guilty that he jumped to the conclusion that his teacher "had tried to make a perverty pass at him." He considers the idea that maybe Mr. Antaloni was just the kind of guy who likes to pat peoples' heads while they sleep. Holden begins to feel guilty for not going back to his teacher's apartment like he told Mr. Antaloni. Holden starts to feel grateful for all the kindness that Mr. Antaloni showed to him. For example, the fact that Mr. Antaloni invited him over and wasn't the least bit angry at Holden for calling at such a late hour. Holden tells us even if Mr. Antaloni is a homosexual; it does not negate all the concern and effort he gave to help Holden.

As Holden is walking to find a place to eat some breakfast, he sees two men unloading a Christmas tree and fighting about how to do it. Holden thinks this is very funny and starts to laugh, but when he laughs, he feels like he might throw up. He also still has a terrible headache.

While he is walking, Holden suddenly feels that he will never make it across the street. He becomes filled with anxiety, and he starts to pray/talk to Allie asking him to please not let him disappear. Every time he makes it to the other side of a street, he thanks Allie for saving him.

After walking more than twenty blocks, Holden starts thinking of a new life out west. He would like to be a deaf-mute so nobody would bother to try and talk to him. He imagines working in a gas station and getting a cabin just outside the woods. Not in the woods, "because I want it to be sunny as hell, all the time", Holden tells us. Holden says that if he decided to get married he would marry a deaf-mute, so both of them would not have to bother talking with each other. If his wife wanted to ask him a question, she could just write it on a note. This life he imagines for himself becomes so enticing that he decides to make it a reality, that day. He tells us he does not care that much about the deaf-mute thing, but he can see a new life for himself.

Holden decides he will hitchhike his way out west that afternoon. Before he goes he wants to say goodbye to Phoebe, so he goes into a stationary store and buys a pen and paper to write Phoebe a goodbye note. He tells her to meet him after lunch at the Museum. Holden goes to Phoebe's school and drops the letter off with the secretary. He tells her a good story about how it is urgent that Phoebe get the note. The secretary, who is, "about ninety years old" is very nice to Holden. She passes on the note right away to another school official, who walks off to deliver the note to Phoebe.

While Holden is at Phoebe's school he becomes angered by all the obscenities on the walls. He even rubs some curses off the wall, but he feels it is pointless. He also imagines grabbing the person who wrote those curses and smashing their head on the pavement. But he becomes depressed as he realizes he would never really be able to carry that out. He also believes that wherever a person goes they will be confronted with trashy messages written on the walls. Holden says that even on his tombstone, somebody will come along and write "fuck you."

When Holden sees Phoebe coming to meet him, he is amused to see she is wearing the red hunting cap he gave her. But the fact that she is lugging a big suitcase along with her, troubles him. Holden tells her I don't need anything, why did you bring that suitcase? He says he is not even taking his suitcase that is in the locker at Grand Central Station. Phoebe says, "I'm going with you. Can I? Okay?" Holden, who has been passing out and is not in a good state of mind at all, blows up at poor Phoebe. He tells her she cannot go with him. He starts yelling at her about the fact that she has a role in the Christmas play and if she goes with him she will miss that. Holden gets so angry he almost hits her. Phoebe tells Holden to "shut up." He is shocked because she never said that to him before. Phoebe begins crying.

Phoebe is only ten years old and she has been carrying around the secret that her brother got kicked out of school and that he is planning on abandoning her and going out West. It must have taken a lot of soul searching for Phoebe to come up with the creative solution of going with Holden. She does not want to lose another brother. She has been very stressed out about Holden and now she just breaks down. Holden feels badly for shouting at her. He makes many efforts to try to get her to forgive him. He tells her that he will not go out west. She is not sure she can believe him. Holden tells Phoebe it is okay with him if she ditches the rest of the school day, and comes with him to the Zoo. Phoebe is still angry at Holden, but she follows him to the zoo.

While riding the carousal, Phoebe forgives Holden. When it starts to rain, Phoebe puts the red hunting hat on Holden's head. She asks him if he really means it that he is going to come home and not go out west. Holden tells us and Phoebe that he really means it. Holden is the happiest he has been in years just watching Phoebe go around and around on the carousal. He tells us, "God, I wish you could've been there.

In Chapter 26, Holden informs us that he has told us everything, too much actually, and that he is not going to talk about his current situation, He says I could tell you "about how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it."

Holden is getting better. In the last few paragraphs we hear him speaking nicely about people. The novel ends on a hopeful note as we discover that Holden has plans to go back to school in the fall, once he gets better. We can assume that he is getting the mental health assistance that he needs. He closes the novel telling us that the only thing he understands about reflecting on everything he wrote is that, "I sort of miss everybody I wrote about." He tells us he misses Stradlater and Ackley and even Maurice! Holden warns us, "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody." Holden is changing from criticizing everyone, to having sentimental feelings towards them. He is now able to miss more people than just his brother, Allie. We can feel confident that Holden is coming out of mourning and coming into his own.

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