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Leaving the Lavender Room, Holden starts thinking aboutjane gallagherand fears that Stradlater has seduced her. Holden first met Jane when her mother got upset because the Gallagher Doberman Pinscher relieved himself on her lawn. Several days later he introduced himself to her, but it took a while before he could convince her that he didn't care what her dog did. Holden remembers Jane's smile and admits that she is the only person he has shown Allie's baseball mitt to. The only time he and Jane had anything sexual together was after she had a fight with Mr. Cudahy, her stepfather. Holden suspected that his stepfather had tried to "get smart" with Jane. Dejected by his train of thought, Holden decides to go to Ernie's, a Greenwich Village nightclub that D.B. I used to go out before I went to Hollywood.
In the taxi to Ernie's house, Holden talks toHorwitz, the taxi driver. He asks what happens to the ducks in Central Park during the winter, but the two argue when Horwitz thinks Holden's questions are stupid. Ernie's is full of high school and college assholes, as Holden calls them. Holden notices that a guy who looks like Joe Yale is with a beautiful girl; he is telling the girl how a boy in his dorm nearly committed suicide.
Suddenly, an ex-girlfriend of Holden's brother D.B. recognizes him. The woman,Lillian Simmons, ask for D.B. and introduces Holden to a Navy major she has been dating. Holden notices how he blocks the hallway as he talks about how handsome Holden has become. Instead of spending time with Lillian Simmons, Holden leaves.
Holden returns to his hotel, even though it is forty-one blocks away. Think about how he would deal with someone who had stolen his gloves. While I wouldn't do it aggressively, I would like to be able to threaten the person who stole them. Holden finally concludes that he would yell at the thief, but he wouldn't have the heart to hit him.
Holden then remembers to drink withRaymond Goldfarbin whoton. While I was back at the hotel,Mauritius, the elevator operator, asks Holden if he's interested in a tail tonight. He offers Holden a prostitute for five dollars. When she arrives, she doesn't think Holden is twenty-two, as he claims. Holden finally tells the prostitute,Sunny, who had just had his clavichord operated on, as an excuse for not having sex. She is angry but he still pays her even though they argue about the price. He gives her five dollars even though she demands ten.
After the prostitute leaves, Holden sits in a chair and talks loudly to his brother Allie, which he often does when he is depressed. He eventually goes to bed and feels like praying, even though he is "half an atheist". He claims he likes Jesus, but the disciples tease him. Besides Jesus, his favorite biblical character is the lunatic who lived in the tombs and cut himself with stones. Holden says that his parents disagree with the religion and that none of his siblings attend church.
Maurice and Sunny, the prostitute, knock on the door demanding more money. Holden argues with Maurice and threatens to call the police, but Maurice says his parents would find out he spent the night with a prostitute. As Holden starts to cry, Sunny takes the money out of his wallet. Maurice punches him in the stomach before leaving. After Maurice leaves, Holden figures he has been shot and would shoot Maurice in the stomach. Holden feels like committing suicide by jumping out of the window, but he wouldn't want people to look at his bloodied body on the sidewalk.
call waitingSally Hayes, who attends the Mary A. Woodruff School. According to Holden, Sally seems quite intelligent because she knows a lot about theater and literature, but she is actually quite stupid. He arranges to meet Sally at a matinee, but she continues to talk to Holden on the phone despite his lack of interest. Holden tells her that her father is a lawyer for a wealthy corporation and that his mother has not been in good health since Allie's death. At Grand Central Station, where Holden checks his bags after checking out of the hotel, he sees two nuns with cheap suitcases. Holden remembers his roommate in Elkton Hills,wood scumwho had cheap suitcases and complained that everything was bourgeois. He talks to the nuns and makes a donation.
In Chapter 11, Jane Gallagher continues to occupy a large part of Holden's thoughts, and the stories about her reinforce other themes that emerge throughout the chapter.The Catcher in the Rye. Jane Gallagher's story reminds the reader that Allie's death had a big effect on Holden. For Holden, information about Allie remains secret and private, only to be shared with certain people. This also lends more weight to the previous chapter, where Holden writes an article about the baseball glove for Stradlater. This information, once considered so private, comes as part of an essay written for others, indicating that Holden has been repressing certain emotions related to his brother's death that may surface.
The chapter also reinforces Holden's recurring suspicion of adults. He believes that Jane Gallagher was abused by her alcoholic stepfather, reinforcing Holden's belief that all authority figures are dangerous. This also explains part of why Holden has such a jaded view of sexuality, as he can associate it with actions like Mr. Cudahy in relation to Jane. Later we will see that Holden himself has suffered at the hands of 'perverts', as he calls them, when he meetsSr. Antolini. So for Holden, sex became disgusting and not something to celebrate. Rather than being related to love, it is something that is its own decrepit entity, completely disconnected from matters of the heart.
Still, there's a key indication here of Holden's hypocrisy and confused position as protagonist or antagonist. He seems incapable of the love needed to achieve sexual satisfaction, and so he pursues sexual satisfaction, which he finds not only morally repugnant but also deeply unsatisfying.
In Chapter 12, Salinger goes on to establish Holden's great dissatisfaction with the people around him in this chapter. He continues to show latent hostility towards everyone he encounters, be it Lillian Simmons or Horwitz. In most of these encounters, Holden expresses a false sense of warmth towards people he meets, but describes only their more negative traits. As she expresses her own fake exterior, she becomes obsessed with the fakeness of others, finding only cynical interpretations of her behavior, such as when she suspects that the guy "Joe Yale" is telling the girl about the suicide attempt while trying to grope her. . . . What spills over, then, is a primal rage at other people who can find pleasure in the everyday, something Holden is utterly incapable of. Not only is he dumb, but deep down inside he's toxically angry at the impenetrability of his own defenses.
This hostility becomes more pronounced when he argues with Horwitz, who to a lesser extent challenges Holden for his silly questions. Holden's anger seems to be more directed towards those of his own particular social situation: he hates "prep-school assholes" and "Joe Yale" types, people who travel in similar circles. This comes across as a particular form of self-loathing. As a high school student who must attend an Ivy League university, Holden loathes the people who look the most like him. In fact, he'd rather call himself Pencey's concierge than take responsibility for his own privileged position. He finds romance by pretending to be stomped on, by pretending to be downtrodden.
It might be too easy to say that Holden is simply in the middle of an existential quandary. He questions his soul less and withholds it more, to avoid the pain of living. After Allie's death, it seems, he sank into a true vision of the suffering of life, and could not bear it while immersed in the trivialities of everyday life. He mainly hates people because they fail to see what he is doing: that life is short and unpredictable, and that love is not worth giving because it can be taken away.
In Chapter 13, Holden emerges as a frightened teenager in this chapter as he admits his own cowardice. He believes he is incapable of standing up to another Pencey student and fighting him in defense of his property, a claim that contradicts his earlier fight with Stradlater. However, in that case, he fought Stradlater on pure impulse. In fact, if Holden ever fights back, it is never out of a belief that he will justify himself, but out of an apparent obsession with self-destruction. He wants to be hit. He wants to suffer pain. Maybe it's the only thing that makes you feel alive.
Furthermore, when a decision requires some degree of foresight, Holden cannot commit to it. This inability to follow through on decisions is also demonstrated during Holden's encounter with the prostitute, which also serves as a reminder of his view of women as purely virginal or irredeemable whores. The prostitute questions Holden's age, as others have throughout the novel, demonstrating again that no matter how old Holden thinks he looks, he looks like a child to the adult characters around him.
Holden's behavior becomes increasingly self-destructive as Chapter 14 progresses. Although he knows that Maurice and Sunny are threatening him, he persists in arguing with them, even though they only discuss a five dollar charge with him and he believes that is in grave danger. During this encounter, Holden once again reveals himself to be a child and breaks down in tears as soon as Sunny and Maurice take his money, but shows more than extreme adolescent discontent. Holden fantasizes about murdering Maurice after he leaves, but gives that thought only passing consideration. Instead, the most important threat Holden poses is to himself. His behavior towards Maurice and Sunny indicates that, to some extent, he doesn't care about being hurt and even seems to take perverse pleasure in the pain Maurice inflicts, as he uses it as an opportunity to play a movie gangster. . .
Salinger includes several examples indicating Holden's masochistic attitudes, such as his admission that his favorite character in the Bible is a self-mutilator. These details build up over the course of the chapter until Holden's final revelation that he is contemplating suicide. Although he eventually dismisses the idea of jumping out of the window due to the particular details of his death, this is a clear sign of Holden's desperation. Salinger clearly foreshadows that Holden will engage in some suicidal action, possibly the reason he is in psychiatric treatment when the book begins.
In Chapter 15, after the shocking events of the previous night, Holden returns to his normal state of affairs and concerns. He treats Sally Hayes in the same way as the other people he meets or mentions throughout the novel: outwardly friendly and cordial, while masking a core of contempt for her values and idiosyncrasies. Holden continues to explain his family history, this time expanding the scope of Allie's death to include other family members. Indeed, his brother's death had a significant impact on Holden, but it also had devastating consequences for the rest of his family. We feel that the family never recovered and everyone moved away from each other, perhaps to protect themselves. Only Holden and Phoebe remain around, but even he leaves her on purpose so that she will never feel pain if he disappears permanently.
Holden also continues his preoccupation with sex when he meets the nuns at Grand Central and wonders how they react to "sexy" literature likeRomeo and Juliet. This encounter is indicative of the Madonna/whore complex established earlier by Holden. He believes that nuns are so divorced from any sense of sexuality that they could not reasonably handle works with erotic themes. This perhaps explains his superficial attraction to becoming a monk. The idea of compartmentalizing his sexuality and separating it from himself is so appealing mainly because that's what he tried to achieve, albeit unsuccessfully.
The most important revelation of this chapter, however, concerns Holden's sense of class arrogance. Though he has chastised Stradlater and others for their snobbery in earlier chapters, Holden is revealed to be just as snobbish in this chapter, condescending to the others over their cheap bags. He believes that the common factor that unites people is not intelligence or talent, but the social class defined by consumer taste. This further establishes Holden's sense of hypocrisy: although he condemns the behavior of the class he belongs to, he shares their behaviors and even accepts that value system as reasonable.