The Catcher in the Rye By J. D. Salinger Summary and Analysis Chapter 14

Summary

It is dawn on Sunday by the time that Sunny exits. Holden smokes a couple of cigarettes and reflects on his relationship with his deceased brother, Allie, as well as his feelings about religion. He is summoned by a knock on the door. Sunny has returned with Maurice and demands the rest of the ten dollars. Holden resists and is roughed up by the pimp.

Analysis

Although Allie does not appear as a character in the novel, he is a significant presence. When Holden gets very depressed, he sometimes talks "sort of out loud" to his younger brother. He does so after Sunny leaves. His communication with Allie is almost religious, a confession of Holden's boyhood lack of consideration for the kid. In the hotel room, Holden repeatedly tells Allie, out loud, to get his bike and join him at the home of a childhood friend, Bobby Fallon. Holden once refused to take Allie with him when he and Bobby were going shooting with BB guns, and the guilt he feels about this incident prompts him to repeat those words, almost in an attempt to take back that day and do it differently.

In bed, Holden has greater difficulty with conventional prayer. He wants to speak with Jesus but can't. He "likes" Jesus but finds the Disciples annoying and considers himself an atheist. He is bothered that the Disciples repeatedly let Jesus down, indicating the importance of friendship and loyalty to Holden.

It is telling that, other than Jesus, Holden's favorite character in the Bible is "that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones." He refers to Mark 5: 1-20, in which Jesus meets the troubled soul whose "name is Legion: for we are many." Holden himself is a troubled soul and, like the man from the tombs, resists being tamed. Recall that he tells us his story from a mental health clinic or sanitarium in California. It is little wonder that Holden identifies with the madman. Holden, too, is one of the legion, one of the many.

Sunny and Maurice interrupt Holden's spiritual musings. They want the other five dollars they say Holden owes them. Holden struggles but is no match for the bigger, stronger, meaner Maurice. As if he has learned nothing from his fight with Stradlater, Holden also calls Maurice a "moron" and is doubled over by a blow to the belly. Sunny takes the five dollars from Holden's wallet, and she and Maurice leave with the money. Holden vamps into a tough guy fantasy in which he has been shot and seeks revenge. He doesn't really feel very tough though. Instead, he feels like committing suicide.

Glossary

Quaker a member of the Society of Friends, a Christian denomination founded in England (circa 1650) by George Fox; the Friends have no formal creed, rites, liturgy, or priesthood, and reject violence in human relations, including war. The term "Quaker" was originally derisive, aimed at the Friends because of Fox's admonition to "quake" at the word of the Lord.

Judas Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:14, 48).

chisel to take advantage of by cheating.

rubbernecks people who stretch their necks or turn their heads to gaze about in curiosity.

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