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Free Study Guide-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger-Free BookNotes
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Chapter 7

Summary

Holden retreats to Ackley’s room and asks if he can spend the night with him. Ackley refuses and tells Holden to leave, making it clear he thinks Holden is crazy. Holden persists, wanting to talk; this time Ackley ignores him, so Holden finally leaves. Feeling isolate and alone, he makes up his mind he will leave Pencey Prep immediately and go to New York, without telling anyone.


Notes

This chapter further reveals Holden’s loneliness and depression. Holden is so desperate for connection that he pesters Ackley. He says, "I felt so lonesome all of a sudden I almost wished I was dead." When Ackley ignores Holden, he becomes even more desperate, more aware of his own pathetic loneliness. "It was even depressing out in the street. You couldn’t even hear cars anymore. I got feeling so lonesome and rotten." When Ackley still does not respond, Holden leaves, with an angry and sarcastic remark.

Feeling really alone, Holden decides he will leave Pencey and go to New York City. Since no one here has given him the attention he needs or cares about his departure, he shouts out childishly, loud enough to wake everyone in the dorm, "Sleep tight, ya morons." It is a weak gesture that merely shows how desperately Holden wants some interaction. In the end, however, it is his sadness and not his anger that leaves a lasting impression. He admits, "I was sort of crying, I don’t know why."

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