The Catcher in the Rye By J. D. Salinger Summary and Analysis Chapter 10

Summary

Holden claims that it is still early, but it is actually quite late. However, the Lavender Room, a lounge off the lobby of the Edmont Hotel, is still open. After providing a detailed recollection of his younger sister, Phoebe, Holden visits the Lavender Room and meets three women, tourists from Seattle.

Analysis

Despite the late hour, Holden nearly calls Phoebe, his 10-year-old sister. However, he realizes that he almost certainly will have to speak to one of his parents instead.

Phoebe is not only intelligent and pretty, with red hair like Allie's, but she is one person with whom Holden can communicate, his soul mate. Sometimes she seems more mature than he does. Phoebe is thin like Holden; he describes her as "roller-skate skinny." She has pretty ears, and she is unusually perceptive. She knows a good movie from a lousy one, as evidenced by her adoration of the Alfred Hitchcock suspense classic The 39 Steps (1935). She has seen it so many times that she has memorized the dialogue.

Phoebe is a budding creative artist in her own right. She writes books featuring a girl detective named Hazle Weatherfield, an orphan who, nonetheless, has a 20-year-old father who keeps popping up. Phoebe may be Holden's best friend.

Holden's aesthetics are tested in the Lavender Room where the Buddy Singer band, "corny" and "putrid," holds forth. Caulfield seems to resent adults but keeps struggling to be one. He tries to order a Scotch and soda (unmixed, of course) but gets carded and settles for a Coke.

The three women in their thirties, sitting at the next table, are tourists from Seattle, all employees at the same insurance office. Holden gives them a "cool glance." Marty and Laverne are unattractive in such similar ways that Holden thinks they might be sisters, which offends both of them. Bernice is blonde, somewhat cute, and a terrific dancer, although lacking in personality. The women are concerned about Holden's age and find it amusing that he is socializing with them. He, on the other hand, can't stand their lack of taste or their touristy fascination with celebrities and Radio City Music Hall. The women excuse themselves, and Holden gets stuck with the tab.

Glossary

pimpy-looking resembling a man who is an agent for a prostitute or prostitutes and lives off their earnings.

from hunger here, unattractive, unfashionable.

grool here, an unattractive person.

Peter Lorre (1904-1964) Hungarian by birth, he was a recognizable character actor and movie star in several countries, including the United States.

Stork Club or El Morocco fashionable New York City nightclubs, where one was more likely to spot celebrities.

Tom Collins an iced drink made with gin, mixed with soda water, lime or lemon juice, and sugar; typically a summer drink.

Radio City Music Hall a Manhattan theater featuring films and stage shows, including a lavish Christmas pageant.

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