The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Contributed by Marinda Dreiling
Chapter 4

Holden seems to like his roommate and thinks he’s generally kind-hearted, despite the fact that he’s "madly in love with himself." He follows Stradlater into the bathroom and the two talk while Stradlater shaves with a rusty, "crumby" razor. According to Holden, Stradlater’s a different sort of slob than Ackley, he’s a "secret slob," looking good on the outside but with nasty habits. Stradlater wants Holden to write his English composition for him, an essay that needs to describe a single thing in great detail. Holden is not too anxious about this, but gives the feeling he’ll probably do it. After a few minutes, Holden starts mock tap-dancing on the stone floor, making fun of musicals. Despite saying he hates the movies for being fake, Holden often imitates them for his own amusement.

Holden gets around to asking Stradlater who his date is for the evening, and is shocked to find out he knows the girl, Jane Gallagher. Holden cares a great deal for Jane, and they used to have a close friendship, playing checkers all the time two summers ago, when their families were summer neighbors. Holden tries to tell Stradlater some stories about Jane, most importantly that she "keeps her kings in the back row" when playing checkers, but Stradlater is only interested in hearing the "sexy" things about Jane. Holden becomes increasingly nervous and agitated thinking about the sexually-experienced Stradlater going out with his old friend Jane.

Holden considers going downstairs to say hello to Jane, but decides against it and asks Stradlater to give her his regards, though he knows Stradlater won’t bother. After Stradlater leaves for the date, Ackley returns to Holden’s room and begins to pop a pimple on his chin. Holden almost welcomes this distraction from his thoughts.

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