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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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CHAPTER 7

After the fight with Stradlater, Holden goes next door and wakes up Ackley, hoping for some consolation but not really expecting any. (When he asks Ackley to play Canasta he's referring to a card game that was popular during the 1940s and 1950s.)

Holden has another bout of sarcastic bantering with Ackley. Then, since Ackley is Roman Catholic, Holden asks, "What's the routine on joining a monastery?"

The question leads to a funny exchange between the two, and then it's dropped. But don't let it slip by without thinking about it. If Holden were Catholic and devoted to his religion, thinking about a monastery might be a consistent thing for him to do. But joining a monastery has no religious meaning for Holden; it would just be a way to escape the world that bothers him so much. It's true that many people have that kind of daydream from time to time. But as you get to know Holden, you'll find that it's more than a daydream, that the monastery is only one expression of a deep-seated desire to withdraw.


Holden decides not to wait until Wednesday, but to leave Pencey right then, late Saturday night, and to spend a few days alone in Manhattan before going home. He packs his bags, sells his typewriter to a boy down the hall, and leaves with a flourish, yelling "Sleep tight, ya morons!" on his way out.

NOTE:

Remember that Holden has been through leave-taking scenes before. In the first chapter he told us he likes "to feel some kind of a good-by" when he leaves a place. He was able to think of something pleasant at that time, something that made him feel a little sorry to be leaving.

That isn't the case when he's actually on his way out the door, though. He's leaving abruptly, still angry at Stradlater, still annoyed with Ackley, and a bit uncomfortable that his exit isn't being acknowledged. His hostile good- bye yell may have made him feel better for the moment, but the leave-taking remains sour.

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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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