How Does Holden Use Sex In Catcher In The Rye

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Jerome David Salinger, a distinguished American novelist and short story writer, is regarded as one of the most famous and influential American writers after World War Ⅱ. Though his literary output is fairly small, his authentic writing about disillusioned, alienated American youth wins him a significant position in modern American literature. He is best known for his controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye. The sixteen-year-old protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is in the dilemma between childhood and adulthood. He is caught between the mourning of childhood’s disappearing and the fear of adulthood’s coming. He has difficulty in accepting many conventions in adulthood, and attitudes towards women, love and sex are undoubtedly among them. Love…show more content…
The sexual behaviors puzzle him. When Holden walks back to the Edmont Hotel, he meets Maurice—the hotel’s full-time elevator and part-time pimp at the lobby. Given Holden’s lack of experience and his fumbling efforts to disguise it, his encounter with Maurice might best be described as an accident waiting to happen: Maurice tells Holden he will send him a girl in fifteen minutes. Although the proposition is, in Holden’s words, “against my principles and all,” (60) Holden blames his response, “Okay … just a throw.” (60) After the prostitute Sunny comes, he compassionately notes her youthfulness, her unexpectedly childish expressions. Holden wants to have a conversation with her, but like the cabdrivers who doubt Holden’s efforts to find out the ducks, Sunny is a firm believer in that time is money principle. When Sunny takes off her dress, what Holden only feels is sadness, “It made me feel sad as well—I don’t know why.”(100) This shows Holden’s sympathy for the young girl who is the same age as his. A sensitivity that leaves him commendably incapable of exploiting her sexually further accounts for his puzzlement in…show more content…
Holden tries hard to find love and sex in the adult’s world. In his eyes, Spencer, the history teacher, is not being gratuitously malicious but innocent. “He made out like he was only pitching it, but he was really getting the old thumb right in there…” (6) Old age does not symbolize wisdom but spiritual blindness and physical feebleness. The relationship between them has been inverted, which is not like the traditional pupil-teacher relationship. However, Holden is mature enough to comfort his antagonist out of childish innocence and love. To be specific, for Holden, love has a broad sense, it is not limited in female, but in everyone he meets. Some people in the novel have tortured and hurt him. Instead of condemning them, Holden gives them his compassion and love. He misses everybody, even Old Stradlater and Ackley. It’s true that Holden does not hate but loves the world with a true love; however, the earthly and hypocritical world cannot bear truth and love. He feels puzzled. Although Holden does not trust the people around him, he still seeks help from them. In order to lessen his despair, Holden tries to search for love in the adult world only to find none there. He feels so despaired with the adult world that he goes to his former teacher---Antolini for help. Mr. Antolini tells Holden that he is heading for a fall. Holden had thought Antolini to be an intelligent

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