The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Contributed by Marinda Dreiling
Chapter 5

It’s Saturday night, and the steak dinner they serve every Saturday at Pencey is, as usual, no good. After dinner, the students go outside to three inches of fresh snow and start horsing around, which Holden enjoys a great deal. In the whiteness, everything looks beautiful. Stradlater has already left for his date with Jane Gallagher, so Holden decides to take a bus into town with his friend, Mal Brossard, to watch a "lousy movie" and get a burger. Holden invites Ackley along as a favor, since Ackley never goes out on Saturdays. Ackley comes along, but not before complaining about having to go with Mal. -This is no surprise, since Ackley complains about everyone. They intend to see a movie, but both Ackley and Mal have seen the one showing, so the boys just have hamburgers, play pinball, then catch a bus back to Pencey.

After returning to the dorms and kicking Ackley out of his room, Holden starts writing the descriptive essay for Stradlater. Holden can’t think of anything worth describing, except for his brother Allie’s left-handed baseball mitt. Allie had written poems all over his fielder’s mitt in green ink, so as to have something to read when he was bored in the outfield. Holden tells us that Allie died of leukemia, about four years ago, and that he was a great kid. Holden obviously misses him. The night Allie died, Holden slept in the garage and punched out all the windows. Holden finishes up Stradlater’s essay about the baseball mitt at 10:30 and stares out the window, looking at the snowy world and listening to Ackley snore from the next room over.

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