Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye
Chapters 19 - 21
Wicker Bar
 Holden
is to meet Carl Luce at the Wicker
Bar, which is in a very nice hotel.
 “In case you don't live in New York, the
Wicker Bar is in this sort of swanky hotel,
the Seton Hotel.
 The
bar often features Tina and Janine, who
sing silly songs in French and English.
 Holden recalls that they are not very talented,
but that everyone in the bar gets all excited
about the duo.
 The thought of their phoniness, naturally,
bothers Holden.
 Holden
arrives at the Wicker Bar early and
manages to find a seat even though it is
 It was pretty early when I got there.
 I sat down at the bar--it was pretty
crowded--and had a couple of Scotch and
sodas before old Luce even showed up.
Carl Luce
 Carl
 Old
arrives and begins to drink.
Luce. What a guy.
 He was supposed to be my Student
Adviser when I was at Whooton.
 The
only thing he ever did, though, was
give these sex talks and all, late at night
when there was a bunch of guys in his
 He knew quite a bit about sex, especially
perverts and all.
 He was always telling us about a lot of
creepy guys that go around having affairs
with sheep, and guys that go around with
girls' pants sewed in the lining of their hats
and all.
 Luce
seems bored and anxious to leave. At
several points in the conversation, he tells
Holden to grow up and quit being so childish.
 Holden persists in talking about sex even
though Carl seems uninterested.
 Once again, as with Sally, Holden grows
excited while talking and has to be told to
lower his volume.
 When
Carl is ready to leave, Holden
pleads with him to stay a little longer.
 Carl, however, has had enough of Holden.
 As he departs he suggests that Holden
should be psychoanalyzed.
 Holden
remains at the Wicker Bar, getting
drunk. A singer named Valencia is
 Holden
prefers Valencia to Tina and
Janine and asks the headwaiter to invite
her to join him for a drink.
 Either the waiter does not give her the
message or she is not interested, because
she exits quickly when her act is finished.
 In
his drunken stupor, Holden begins once
again to pretend he is wounded in the
stomach; he keeps putting his hand under
his jacket to prevent the bleeding.
 “Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around
one o'clock or so, getting drunk as a
 “I could hardly see straight.”
 Finally
what I felt like, I felt like giving old
Jane a buzz and see if she was home yet.
 So I paid my check and all.
 Then I left the bar and went out where the
telephones were.
 I kept keeping my hand under my jacket to
keep the blood from dripping.
 Boy, was I drunk.
 But
when I got inside this phone booth, I
wasn't much in the mood any more to give
old Jane a buzz.
 I was too drunk, I guess.
 So what I did, I gave old Sally Hayes a
 I had to dial about twenty numbers before I
got the right one.
 Boy, was I blind.
 Sally
is not pleased with his phone call in
the middle of the night and, realizing he is
drunk, tells him to go home and go to bed.
 Before
leaving the bar, Holden soaks his
head in a basin full of cold water to sober
 Once
outside, Holden starts walking
toward Central Park to see for himself
whether the ducks are safely taken care
 “So what I did, I started walking over to the
 I figured I'd go by that little lake and see
what the hell the ducks were doing, see if
they were around or not, I still didn't know
if they were around or not.”
 “It
wasn't far over to the park, and I didn't
have anyplace else special to go to--I
didn't even know where I was going to
sleep yet--so I went. I wasn't tired or
 “I
just felt blue as hell.”
 He
has some trouble finding the duck
pond, even though he knows this part of
the park very well.
 When he finally reaches the lagoon, the
ducks are gone, which makes Holden
think about death.
 He decides he wants to see Phoebe and
makes his way towards home.
started thinking how old Phoebe would
feel if I got pneumonia and died.
 It was a childish way to think, but I couldn't
stop myself.
 She'd feel pretty bad if something like that
 She likes me a lot. I mean she's quite fond
of me.
 She really is.
 Anyway,
I couldn't get that off my mind, so
finally what I figured I'd do, I figured I'd
better sneak home and see her, in case I
died and all.
 I had my door key with me and all, and I
figured what I'd do, I'd sneak in the
apartment, very quiet and all, and just sort
of chew the fat with her for a while.
 The
only thing that worried me was our
front door.
 It creaks like a bastard.
 It's a pretty old apartment house, and the
superintendent's a lazy bastard, and
everything creaks and squeaks.
 I was afraid my parents might hear me
sneaking in.
 But I decided I'd try it anyhow.
 So
I got the hell out of the park, and went
 I walked all the way.
 It wasn't too far, and I wasn't tired or even
drunk any more.
 It was just very cold and nobody around
 Holden
arrives at the apartment building
and believes he has had "the best break in
years" because the elevator boy is a
substitute who does not recognize him.
 Holden
makes up a silly lie, which ends up
confusing the elevator boy enough that he
lets Holden up without asking too many
told him, in this very casual
voice, to take me up to the
 The Dicksteins were these
people that had the other
apartment on our floor.
 He had the elevator doors all
shut and all, and was all set to
take me up, and then he turned
around and said, "They ain't in.
They're at a party on the
fourteenth floor."
 "That's
all right," I said. "I'm supposed to wait
for them. I'm their nephew."
 He gave me this sort of stupid, suspicious
look. "You better wait in the lobby, fella," he
 "I'd like to--I really would," I said. "But I have a
bad leg. I have to hold it in a certain position. I
think I'd better sit down in the chair outside
their door."
got off at our floor--limping like a bastard-and started walking over toward the
Dicksteins' side.
 Then, when I heard the elevator doors
shut, I turned around and went over to our
 I was doing all right. I didn't even feel
drunk anymore.
 Then
I took out my door key and opened
our door, quiet as hell.
 Then, very, very carefully and all, I went
inside and closed the door.
 I really should've been a crook.
 Holden
makes a tiptoed journey through
the apartment to Phoebe’s room.
 When she is not in her bed, Holden
remembers that she sometimes sleeps in
D.B.’s room.
 She doesn't like her own room because it's
too little, she says.
 She says she likes to spread out. That kills
 He
finds her sleeping soundly and
watches for awhile.
 Before he wakes her, Holden sits down at
the desk and reads one of her school
 Then,
finally, I woke her up.
 I mean I couldn't sit there on that desk for
the rest of my life, and besides, I was
afraid my parents might barge in on me all
of a sudden and I wanted to at least say
hello to her before they did.
 So I woke her up.
 As
expected, Phoebe is thrilled to see him.
 She tells him about all the recent
happenings in her life.
 Holden listens with a great deal of care
and affection and is happy just to be with
 She
tells Holden their parents are at a
party in Connecticut and will not be home
until late.
 Suddenly
she realizes Holden is home
from Pencey earlier than he should be and
asks if he has been kicked out again.
 Holden tries to lie his way out of the
situation, but Phoebe sees through him
and gets upset. She covers her head with
a pillow and refuses to talk to him.