Chapter 8 Notes from The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 8

Holden, still a bit bloody from Stradlater's punch, walks to the train station and boards a late train for New York. He takes off his red hunting hat and, still depressed, stares out the window until Trenton, when a woman boards the near-empty train and plops herself down in the seat next to his.

The woman comments on the Pencey Prep sticker on one of Holden's suitcases, and it comes out that she's the mother of Ernest Morrow, a classmate of Holden's. Ernest is, according to Holden, "the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey...." (pg. 54) He's the type of kid who gets a kick out of snapping people's asses with wet towels in the shower room. But Mrs. Morrow seems nice enough, not to mention she's a nice looking woman, and Holden can't resist talking to her.

Holden tells Mrs. Morrow his name is Rudolf Schmidt, the name of the Pencey janitor. This is the first of a rather fantastic string of lies he tells Mrs. Morrow. Ernest is shy and extremely popular, Holden tells her. He was the unanimous choice for class president, though he was too modest to nominate himself. Holden offers Mrs. Morrow a cigarette and they both smoke, against train rules. Holden even asks her if she'd like to have a cocktail in the club car, which is going a little too far. He tells a few more lies along the lines of how he's going home early to have a brain tumor removed, and has to assert a pretty strong force of will to stop lying. "Then I started reading this timetable I had in my pocket. Just to stop lying. Once I get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it. No kidding. Hours." Chapter 8, pg. 58

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