Before Holden goes home to his parents, he plans to spend a few days in New York. His parents do not know of the expulsion, so he spends the weekend in a hotel. Holden is a pretty strange kid who can always find a way to get himself into trouble. Holden constantly talks about how he hates phony people and phony words. He complains of how the head master Thurman of Pency Prep is a phony person. Holden says he is the kind of guy who will treat you bad, but will act polite and nice to your parents when they visit.
Holden basically decides that almost everyone he meets in his life is a phony. He even gets disgusted with the advertisement for Pency Prep. The picture of the horse jumping over a fence is a false image in his opinion. He says that he has never even seen a horse on the campus.
Holden is also very curious. Of all things, he wonders where the ducks go when the pond freezes over in the park. He loves his red hunting cap that he bought for a dollar. The cap serves as his way to be an individual. Stradtler is his roommate and they are fairly good friends.
Stradtler is two years older than him so he is always going out on dates and has to listen to Holden question him. One time Stradtler goes out with one of Holden$BCT(J long time friends, Jane Gallagher, and he has to listen to an earful from Holden. Ackley is Holden$BCT(J neighbor and they are all right friends. Ackley is the kind of guy though who can get on anybody$BCT(J nerves in a heart beat.
Ackley and Stradtler despise of each other and rarely talk. Ackley is very nosy and Holden does not understand why he puts up with Ackley$BCT(J nonsense. Holden has a dead brother Allie, an older brother D. B. , who is a writer, and a younger sister Pheobe.
He does not talk much with D. B. and he really likes to $BET(Jhoot the bull$BG(Jwith his sister. While in New York, Holden tries to get in touch with many of his former acquaintances.
He spends a couple of nights in some night clubs and one night with a prostitute. After the night with the prostitute, Maurice the elevator man beats Holden up pretty bad. This is the first time that Holden has ever stood up for himself. Holden is the kind of person who lies naturally.
On a train, Holden sees his friend$BCT(J mother and tries to impress her with vivid talk and telling lies. Holden once again fails at becoming an adult. He does not know how to act in the (Jdult world. (J Holden meets Sally Hayes, and takes her places, like the skating rink but all they ever do is argue.
Holden has a hard time expressing himself, and though he loves Sally, he manages a way ruin things. He consults one of his friends Carl Luce, who is an expert at sex, but not at love. Carl suggests that Holden under go psychoanalysis. With too much time on his hands before he must break the news to his parents, he has the urge to talk with Pheobe, so he sneaks into his house. He wakes her up and they $BET(Jhoot the bull$BG(Jfor a while.
In their conversation, Holden says some really absurd things. The most absurd thing he says is that he wants to be a catcher in the rye when he becomes older. He wants to make sure kids do not fall over the cliff when they play. The story ends with Holden visiting his sister$BCT(J school, and going to the museum. At the end of the book, Holden says he wishes he never told anyone about anything, because when one tells something to someone, one misses them.
Holden indeed missed everyone he talked to, including Maurice.