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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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CHAPTER 11

Because Jane Gallagher is one of the three people Holden has had good things to say about, it pays to read this chapter carefully. Mull over some of the things he says about Jane. Try reading what he means, instead of only what he says. (Remember, sometimes even he doesn't know what his words reveal about himself, so this kind of reading isn't easy.)

Holden spends the whole chapter talking about Jane. He becomes so depressed thinking of her date with Stradlater that he ends up going to a bar.

"I know old Jane like a book," Holden tells us. How are we to take that? He hasn't seen her in nearly two years, since she was sixteen. He has missed a very important stage of her development as a young woman. The girl who went out with Stradlater may be radically different from the Jane who exists in Holden's memory. (Would the old Jane have gone near someone like Stradlater?)

"You don't always have to get too sexy to get to know a girl," he says. This tells us that his relationship with Jane was platonic-friendly but nonsexual. It also helps us understand why Holden would be upset that anyone could think of Jane in sexual terms.


When Holden says, "The girls I like best are the ones I never feel much like kidding... it's hard to get started, once you've known them a pretty long time and never kidded them," he's suggesting that he's in awe of girls, that he can't treat them casually as friends.

When he thinks about Jane and Stradlater in Ed Banky's car, it drives him crazy, even though "I knew she wouldn't let him get to first base with her." It drives him crazy because he doesn't truly know what Jane would allow Stradlater to do. He's frightened by the possibility that Jane might have changed.

Remember, Jane is the only person outside of his family to whom Holden has ever shown Allie's glove. Allie and Phoebe represent childhood innocence to Holden. If he has limited them with Jane in his mind, her growing up could be a terrible event in his life.

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