CliffsNotes The Catcher in the Rye

By Stanley P. Baldwin | Go to book overview

Chapter 13

Summary

Holden is tired of taxis and walks the forty-one blocks back to the hotel, wearing his red hunting cap with the earflaps down, missing his pilfered gloves, and bemoaning his cowardice. The elevator man, Maurice, doubles as a pimp and offers to provide Holden with female companionship for “five bucks a throw” or fifteen dollars for the night. Holden agrees to go for “a throw” in his room, 1222, but almost immediately regrets it. The hooker calls herself Sunny; Holden tells her his name is Jim Steele. Although they do little more than talk, because Holden is more depressed than ready to have sex, Sunny says that her fee is ten dollars. Holden pays her only five, and she leaves, calling him a “crumb-bum.”


Commentary

Holden’s reflection on his cowardice and inept fighting ability foreshadows events in the next chapter. He realizes that he is more likely to attack someone verbally. What frightens him most in such a conflict is having to look at the other fellow’s face.

As he waits for the prostitute, Holden passes time by brushing his teeth and changing his shirt. He confesses to being “a little nervous” and admits that he is still a virgin. The truth is that Holden, at age 16, seems to be what we might call a “good kid.” When he is making out with a girl and she asks him to stop, he stops. “No” means no for Holden. He is interested in sex, but he doesn’t quite understand how to get there.

What he learns with Sunny is that he prefers not to get there with a prostitute. The whole scene is depressing rather than erotic for Holden. He has to get to know a girl, and like her a lot, before he is comfortable with intimacy. One of the likable things about Holden is that, beneath it all, he has some healthy values. In addition, he has mixed feelings toward Sunny. She is very young (about Holden’s age) and seems to be almost as nervous as he is. As Holden describes it, “She

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CliffsNotes The Catcher in the Rye
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • CliffsNotes™ The Catcher in the Rye i
  • Table of Contents iii
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Author 1
  • Introduction to the Novel 7
  • Criticalcommentaries 21
  • Chapter 1 22
  • Chapter 2 25
  • Chapter 3 28
  • Chapter 4 31
  • Chapter 5 33
  • Chapters 6 and 7 35
  • Chapters 8 and 9 37
  • Chapter 10 41
  • Chapter 11 43
  • Chapter 12 45
  • Chapter 13 47
  • Chapter 14 49
  • Chapter 15 51
  • Chapter 16 53
  • Chapter 17 56
  • Chapters 18 and 19 59
  • Chapter 20 61
  • Chapter 21 63
  • Chapter 22 65
  • Chapter 23 68
  • Chapter 24 70
  • Chapters 25 and 26 73
  • Character Analyses 77
  • Critical Essays 85
  • CliffsNotes Review 93
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 96
  • Index 99
  • Notes 103
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