After interacting with some women there, he goes to another nightclub, only to leave after seeing his elder brother’s ex-girlfriend.
When he gets back to the hotel, he orders a prostitute to his room, only to talk to her.
Holden falls asleep on Antolini’s couch and awakes to Antolini stroking his forehead, which Holden interprets as a sexual advance.
He immediately excuses himself and heads to Grand Central Station, where he spends the rest of the night.
Holden wants to be the “catcher in the rye”—someone who saves children from falling off a cliff, which can be understood as a metaphor for entering adulthood.
As Holden watches Phoebe on the carousel, engaging in childlike behaviour, he is so overcome with happiness that he is, as he puts it, “damn near bawling.” By taking her to the zoo, he allows her to maintain her childlike state, thus being a successful “catcher in the rye.” During this time, however, watching her and the other children on the carousel, he has also come to accept that he cannot save everyone: “If they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. Holden’s desire is to “hold on” to the protective covering (the caul) that encloses the field of innocence (the same field he wishes to keep the children from leaving).
Instead, he rents a room at the Edmont Hotel, where he witnesses some sexually charged scenes through the windows of other rooms.
His loneliness then causes him to seek out human interaction, which he does at the Lavender Room, the hotel’s nightclub.
After Little, Brown bought the manuscript, Salinger showed it to ’s reception was lukewarm at first.
Many critics were impressed by Holden as a character and, specifically, by his style of narration. The novel remained influential into the 21st century; indeed, many American high schools included it in their curriculum.