The Catcher in the Rye is a story about a young man named Holden Caulfield who, as in a monologue, narrates a number of events which happened to him before Christmas vacation. He tells the story from a mental hospital or facility which he seems to be undergoing a treatment, recovering from stress. Holden's story begins at the Pencey prep school in Pennsylvania which he despises because he finds the attitudes of the people there very phony. He states he is being expelled from the school because he has failed four out of the five classes, English being the only class he did not fail. Before leaving the school he decides after a football game that he would like to go visit an old history teacher of his, Mr. Spencer. Holden ends up getting annoyed by him because he tries to explain to him how he must take life more seriously and appreciate school more than he does now. Later in the day another boy named Ackley comes into Holden's dorm who also annoys him with his unhygienic and dull personality. After that another roommate, Stradlater, comes into Holden's dorm and annoys him as well because Holden learns that Stradlater is taking Jane on a date, who is an old friend of Holden's which he still admires. After Stradlater is back from his date Holden begins to question him which angers Stradlater and they get into a fist fight. Holden then decides he cannot live there any longer and leaves Pencey early to head home.
So Holden takes a late train to New York City where he spends a total of two days which are very lonely and filled with drunkenness. Once in Manhattan he tries to call several people but ends up not calling anyone for different reasons and then takes a cab to the Edmont Hotel. Here at the hotel he is provided with several adventures which include dancing with three phony tourists at a club and an awkward encounter with a prostitute which causes him to get beat up again for not paying her. He also remembers a time he had with Jane Gallagher and has flashbacks about times he spent with her like the summer vacation in Maine. During these two eventful days Holden also meets up with an old friend Carl Luce, who he ends up having a particular dissatisfying time. Holden also ends up going on a date with a past admirer called Sally Hayes who ends up storming off after having an argument with Holden after ice-skating. At this point Holden is not realizing the situation he is in and has no control over himself or the situation. After observing some ducks at the park, Holden decides to risk going home and sneaks into his sister's room to speak with her and is forced to tell her the truth about being kicked out of school. This upsets his sister greatly and he tries to explain by saying his fantasy of being the "catcher in the rye" to save children from falling off the side of a cliff. After he says that, his sister Phoebe, corrects him saying the actual poem says, "if a body meet a body, coming through the rye" which would have nothing to do with catching a body. Holden then decides that children are out in the world alone with no one to catch them. After that visit he decides to go visit another old teacher of his, Mr. Antolini, who invites him over his house to spend the night. After a lecture from him and a cup of coffee Holden goes to sleep and wakes up to Mr. Antolini stroking his head. Holden is shocked by the homosexual advance and leaves his home immediately after. Mr. Antolini really meant nothing more then trying to help a student going through a hard time, but Holden's complexity doesn't allow him to realize that. So the next day he meets up with Phoebe again and tells her he is leaving for good and she decides she wants to leave with him. He refuses to let her go, but takes her to the local zoo instead, and ends up fainting a couple times. He then ends the story by saying he will not say how he got put in the mental facility, but is still optimistic and has a better perspective about life and will go back to school for the fall term. So despite that, he is unclear about how he got sick and any missing events that he didn't say, and will probably recover his problems finally in this medical hospital. Yet with this large difference in personality, he is still very lonely and has no direction.