Chapters 16 & 17
The time between checking out of the Edmont Hotel and meeting Sally at 2.00
p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel is covered here. He makes his way towards Broadway, but his thoughts go to Phoebe who sometimes skates in Central Park, but she is not there, so he decides to buy her an expensive
Sally is late, but makes up for it by her stunning looks. She is
thrilled that Holden is going to take her to the theatre. Holden is much less excited. She is keen to see the Lunts and is impressed by the performance.
Holden is later upset at Sally’s performance in the lobby where she sees
someone she knows, an Andover student named George. She seems to be more interested in him than in Holden.
After the show, they go skating at Radio City.
Holden is looking to get more out of the date than Sally. He needs someone to talk to, but Sally is in no mood for serious conversation. Holden persists and suggests that the two should get a car and go away together for a few days. This horrifies Sally and the date ends badly.
Although Holden’s money is dwindling he still wants to buy a special record
for Phoebe called ‘Little Shirley Beans’ by the black jazz singer Estelle Fletcher. This cost $10 and normally recordings went for 50 cents.
Initially, Holden arranged for the visit to the theatre to get on Sally’s
good side. He considered the Lunts to be on the ‘crappy side’, but later concedes that they were pretty good.
From the beginning Sally seems like an odd match for Holden.
She is extremely phony as everything is either ‘marvelous’ or ‘lovely’ and it is all-superficial in contrast to Holden who really tries to feel more deeply about people and things.
At the skating rink, Holden makes the mistake of trying to talk with Sally
about his desires.
This only serves to confuse and frighten her and she asks him not to shout, as she doesn’t understand what he is talking about. Instead of retreating, Holden pursues the situation, suggesting that they could go to Massachusetts and Vermont. They could get a cabin and maybe they could get married and live there forever. However serious Holden may be, Sally is not the right girl to fulfill his fantasy as she has little imagination. Sally says that she will get home on her own, and the date ends.