After being expelled from school for his poor academic performance, Holden arranges his things and leaves school in the middle of the night.
Holden then looks for an old girlfriend, Sally Hayes, inviting her to see a musical. Sally accepts the invitation quite lively.
so they get together for the show. Later Holden suddenly invites Sally to run away with him, but she refuses.
Holden spends the total of three days in the city and his time is largely characterized by great drunkenness and solitude. At one point he ends up in a museum, in which he contrasts his life with that of Eskimos in the shop windows. As far as he can remember, the statues have never changed.
Eventually he flees to his parents' apartment while they are away to visit his younger sister, Phoebe, who is the only person with whom Holden seems to be able to communicate.
Holden then decides not to leave. Holden in order to cheer up her sister takes her to the Central Zoo. While he watches his sister in the car, Holden realizes that he can not be the "catcher in the rye field" and that he needs help.