The Catcher in the Rye

by: J. D. Salinger

Chapters 5–6

Holden seems to feel increasing pressure as he moves toward leaving school, and Salinger manipulates the details of Holden’s physical environment to match his protagonist’s feelings. Holden cannot get a moment alone; Ackley continues to barge in with his made-up sex stories, and when Holden writes the very personal composition about his brother Allie, Stradlater criticizes it and then taunts Holden about Jane. When Holden finally snaps and attacks his roommate, Stradlater easily overpowers him, and when he tries to seek refuge in Ackley’s room, Ackley is so unpleasant that Holden cannot relax. He leaves abruptly, as though trying to escape the torment of his environment. What Holden does not yet realize, however, is that he carries his torment with him, inside himself.