Here’s a detailed summary of Chapter 20 of “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger:
Catcher in the Rye Chapter 20 Summary: Holden’s Visit to His Family’s Apartment
In Chapter 20, Holden Caulfield continues his narrative in New York City. He has been wandering the streets and reflecting on his journey and his encounters with various people. The chapter begins with Holden making a significant decision—to visit his family’s apartment and see his younger sister, Phoebe, once more.
Holden arrives at the apartment building and gains entry to the building. He reflects on the various details of the apartment, including the mailbox and the hallway. He mentions that he has a key to the apartment, which allows him to enter.
Holden sneaks into the apartment and finds Phoebe sitting in her bedroom. Their reunion is emotional, and Holden is relieved to see her again. Phoebe is initially shocked and worried about him but is also happy that he’s safe.
During their conversation, Phoebe expresses her concern for Holden’s well-being and asks him about his plans. She points out that their parents will be furious when they find out he’s back in New York City and hasn’t gone west as he initially planned.
Holden and Phoebe have a heartfelt conversation about their family and their parents. Phoebe shares her own perspectives and worries about Holden’s future. Holden is deeply moved by Phoebe’s love and support.
As their conversation continues, Holden becomes increasingly anxious and emotional. He mentions that he has been feeling overwhelmed by the phoniness and complexities of the adult world and has been struggling to find his place in it.
The chapter ends with Holden’s decision to leave the apartment once more, even though he longs for the comfort and familiarity of his family. He knows that he can’t stay and risk further conflict with his parents.
Chapter 20 is a poignant chapter that highlights the deep bond between Holden and Phoebe. It also delves into Holden’s internal struggles and his ongoing search for authenticity and meaning in a world he perceives as filled with phoniness and disillusionment. His visit to his family’s apartment serves as a reminder of the challenges of growing up and facing the complexities of adulthood.