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Holden lives in Ossenburger Hall, which is named after a rich Pencey graduate that made a fortune in the discount funeral house business. In his room, Holden sits and reads Isak Dinesen’s Out that Africa while wearing his new hunting hat, a flamboyant red cap through a lengthy peaked brim and earflaps. The is interrupted by Ackley, a pimply student that lives following door. According to Holden, Ackley is a supremely irritating classmate that constantly barges right into the room, exhibits disgusting an individual habits and also poor hygiene, and constantly acts together if he’s doing others a favor by spending time with them. Ackley does no seem to have numerous friends. He prevents Holden from analysis by puttering approximately the room and pestering him through annoying questions. Ackley more aggravates Holden by cutting his fingernails on the floor, despite Holden’s recurring requests the he stop. He refuses to take it Holden’s hints that he must leave. As soon as Holden’s handsome and also popular roommate, Stradlater, enters, Ackley, who hates Stradlater, quickly returns come his own room. Stradlater mentions the he has actually a day waiting for him but wants come shave.
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Summary: chapter 4
Holden goes to the bathroom with Stradlater and also talks come him while that shaves. Holden contrasts Stradlater’s personal habits with Ackley’s: conversely, Ackley is ugly and has bad dental hygiene, Stradlater is outwardly attractive but does not keep his razor or various other toiletries clean. He decides that while Ackley is an obvious slob, Stradlater is a “secret slob.” The 2 joke around, then Stradlater asks Holden to compose an English composition because that him due to the fact that his day won’t leaving him v time to execute it top top his own. Holden asks around the date and learns that Stradlater is taking out a girl Holden knows, mrs Gallagher. (Stradlater carelessly calls her “Jean.”) Holden plainly has strong feelings because that Jane and remembers she vividly. He tells Stradlater that once she play checkers, she used to keep every one of her monarchs in the ago row since she chosen the method they looked there. Stradlater is uninterested. Holden is displeased the Stradlater, one of the couple of sexually skilled boys in ~ Pencey, is acquisition Jane top top a date. He wants to speak hello to she while she waits for Stradlater, but decides he isn’t in the mood. Prior to he pipeline for his date, Stradlater borrows Holden’s hound’s-tooth jacket.
After Stradlater leaves, Holden is tormented by think of Jane and Stradlater. Ackley barges in again and also sits in Holden’s room, squeezing pimples until dinnertime.
Analysis: Chapters 3–4
These chapters develop the way Holden interacts through his peers. Holden despises “phonies”—people whose surface habits distorts or disguises your inner feelings. Also his brothers D. B. Incurs his displeasure by agree a huge paycheck to create for the movies; Holden considers the movies to be the phoniest that the phony and also emphasizes throughout the book the loathing he has actually for Hollywood.
Unfortunately, Holden is surrounded by phonies in his circa- prepare school. Preening Ackley and self-absorbed Stradlater act as his instant contrasts. But, in spite of their flaws, he acts with basic kindness towards them, agreeing to create Stradlater’s English composition for him in thing 4, also though Stradlater is out through Jane Gallagher, a girl Holden seems to care for an extremely deeply. The push of adolescent sexuality—an vital theme transparent The Catcher in the Rye—makes itself felt here for the very first time: Holden’s greatest worry is that Stradlater will certainly make sexual developments toward Jane.
Stradlater and Ackley sound favor appallingly unsympathetic characters, but this is completely the an outcome of the tone in i m sorry Holden describes them. Because that instance, Holden shows his awareness the Ackley behaves in stroked nerves ways since he is insecure and unpopular, but instead that trying come imagine what Ackley wants or why that does things, he focuses on Ackley’s surface—literally, his skin. By describing in minute detail Ackley’s pond trimming and also pimple squeezing, Holden provides him seem disgusting and subhuman.
Holden’s interactions likewise reveal just how lonely the is. He explains Ackley together isolated and ostracized, however it’s easy to see the parallel in between Ackley’s and also Holden’s situations. Holden notes that he and also Ackley space the only two guys not in ~ the football game. Both room isolated, and also both maintain a bitter, critical exterior in order come shield us from the people that strikes them. In Ackley especially, we can see the cruelty the the situation. Ackley’s isolation is perpetuated by his stroked nerves habits, however his annoying habits protect that from the threats of interaction and intimacy. Ackley’s instance greatly illuminates Holden’s own inner landscape: intimacy and also interaction space what he needs and also fears most.
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Holden’s new hunting hat, through its funny earflaps, becomes really important to him. Throughout the novel, the serves as a sort of safety device, i m sorry Holden supplies for more than physical warmth and comfort. Once he put on the hat, he always claims not to care what human being think around his appearance, which might be a source of self-conscious embarrassment because that Holden—he is incredibly tall for his age, an extremely thin, and, despite he is just sixteen, has a an excellent deal the gray hair. But it is additionally important to keep in mind when Holden does no wear the hat. Part of him seems to desire to display screen his rebelliousness, however another component of him desires to to the right in—or, at least, to hide his distinctive personality. Although that mentions the freezing temperature, Holden does not wear the hat close to the football video game or in ~ Mr. Spencer’s house; the waits for the privacy of his own room to placed it on.