RE: The Catcher in the Rye help with homework Chapter 13
- Explain Holden’s confusion about his own assertiveness.
- Why does Holden allow Maurice to send the prostitute to his room? How does Holden excuse his agreeing to meet a prostitute?
- Explain what happens between Holden and the prostitute. What does this scene tell us about Holden?
- What does Holden’s pseudonym indicate about his insecurities?
- What comment shows Holden’s sensitivity to language?
Explain what happens between Holden and the prostitute. What does this scene tell us about Holden?
As Holden broods, the prostitute, Sunny, arrives. She was a cynical young girl with a high voice. Holden becomes flustered, especially so when she removes her dress. She sits on his lap and tries to seduce him, but he is extremely nervous and tells her he is unable to have sex because he is recovering from an operation on his “clavichord.” He finally pays her the five dollars he owes and asks her to leave. She claims that the price is ten, but he refuses to pay her more, and she leaves in a huff.
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 crossed her legs and started jiggling this one foot up and down. She was very nervous, for a prostitute. She really was. I think it was because she was young as hell. She was around my age.” Holden is depressed that she is so young leading this kind of life. It saddens him to think of her going to a store to buy the green dress that she has worn for him and that he hangs in the closet so it won’t get “all wrinkly,” as Sunny puts it, in her child-like language.