Chapter Summaries: 18-23
Chapter 18: Holden enjoys a swiss cheese sandwich and a malt. He thinks about calling Jane, but changes his mind. He calls an old friend, Carl Luce, who agrees to meet him later. Holden goes to a movie to kill time.
Chapter 19: Holden meets Luce at the Wicker Bar. Luce, who attends Columbia University, used to tell the younger kids at the Whooten School about sex. Luce arrives and treats Holden rudely, telling him he needs psychoanalysis. Luce leaves.
Chapter 20: Holden gets extremely drunk. He walks to Central Park and drops a record he bought for Phoebe. He fears getting pneumonia, and low on cash, decides to sneak home and visit Phoebe, without letting his parents know he's there.
Chapter 21: Holden sneaks into his home, walks up stairs, and wakes up Phoebe. She's excited to see him, and then realizing he's home two days early, discovers he's been kicked out of school again. She holds a pillow over her head and repeats, "Dad's going to kill you."
Chapter 22: Holden returns to Phoebe's room and explains why he left Pencey, because he hated all the "phonies" there. Phoebe accuses Holden of hating everything and challenges him to think of something he doesn't hate. All he can think of is Allie, who's dead, and James Castle, a boy who died at Elkton Hills after jumping out a window to escape being tormented by other boys. Holden says his dream in life is to be "the catcher in the rye."
Chapter 23: Holden calls Mr. Antolini, an English teacher at Elkton Hills. Mr. Antolini invites Holden to stay at his house. Holden goes back to Phoebe's room and dances with her. Holden's parents return home. Holden hides and then sneaks out.
Analysis: Holden's desire to be "the catcher in the rye" symbolizes his desire to protect children from falling from the innocence of childhood into the harsh reality of adulthood.