Women and Sex in the novel The Catcher in the Rye
In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield narrates the story of his wandering around New York; after becoming fed-up with the people around him, he decides to start his Christmas break early before returning home to his parents. There he will face the consequences of being expelled from yet another school due to his rebellious nature. Over the course of his five-day journey, Holden is highly critical of the people around him. However, he is much more sensitive when it comes to women and struggles with feelings towards sex and relationships. Holden is uncomfortable and awkward around women, but he claims to be mature and charming. In Chapter 10, Holden goes to a bar, where there are several women. Thinking he looks older than most teens, he tries to get a drink, but is rejected. This is the beginning of his beginning of his fall. Holden tries to woo some of the ladies, and he thinks he is successful, but they are just mocking him. Later, they laugh at him, showing that they think he is immature (Salinger, 38). When he arrives back at the hotel after his night out, a man named Maurice offers him a prostitute for five dollars. Holden accepts and returns to his room to wait. When Sunny, the call girl, arrives, she immediately strips down, making Holden very nervous. Afterwards, she sits on his lap, trying to seduce him, but he becomes too overwhelmed and tells her to leave (51). Later, he tries the bars again, but this time, he gets drunk and becomes very persistent in getting a date. He calls Sally, who would not forgive him, and tried to flirt with multiple women. Despite the repeated rejections, he kept trying (81). Even though he has a deep fear of women, Holden has managed to develop an equally deep feeling towards them, as well as a belief that sex is special and should be reserved for love. His long-term crush, a girl named Jane, is always on Holden’s mind....
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