The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 13 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
She came in and took her coat off right away and sort of chucked it on the bed. She had on a green dress underneath. Then she sort of sat down sideways on the chair that went with the desk in the room and started jiggling her foot up and down. 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. I sat down in the big chair, next to her, and offered her a cigarette.
"I don't smoke," she said.
She had a tiny little wheeny-whiny voice. You could hardly hear her. She never said thank you, either, when you offered her something. She just didn't know any better.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Steele," I said.
"Ya got a watch on ya?" she said. She didn't care what the hell my name was, naturally.
"Hey, how old are you, anyways?"
"Like fun you are."
It was a funny thing to say. It sounded like a real kid. You'd think a prostitute and all would say "Like hell you are" or "Cut the crap" instead of "Like fun you are." (13.30-35)
Holden recognizes the lingering (and ironic) innocence in Sunny. Though she's a prostitute, she still avoids vulgarities.
"Uh huh. Well, how 'bout it? Y'innarested? Five bucks a throw. Fifteen bucks the whole night." He looked at his wrist watch. "Till noon. Five bucks a throw, fifteen bucks till noon."
"Okay," I said. It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think. That's the whole trouble. When you're feeling very depressed, you can't even think.
I looked at the red thing with my number on it, on my key. "Twelve twenty-two,"
I said. I was already sort of sorry I'd let the thing start rolling, but it was too late now. (13.13-19)
And here we go again. Notice that Holden says "Okay" because he's feeling depressed. We've seen that his isolation makes him feel this way, so it makes sense that he's looking for companionship to make him feel better. Unfortunately, prostitutes aren't so much companions as people to have sex with, and we know for Holden, sex and emotion are sort of at odds. So basically, this is doomed from the start.
I knew I didn't have to get all dolled up for a prostitute or anything, but it sort of gave me something to do. I was a little nervous. I was starting to feel pretty sexy and all, but I was a little nervous anyway. If you want to know the truth, I'm a virgin. I really am. I've had quite a few opportunities to lose my virginity and all, but I've never got around to it yet. Something always happens. […] I came quite close to doing it a couple of times, though. One time in particular, I remember. Something went wrong, though – I don't even remember what any more. The thing is, most of the time when you're coming pretty close to doing it with a girl – a girl that isn't a prostitute or anything, I mean – she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don't. I can't help it. You never know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they're just scared as hell, or whether they're just telling you to stop so that if you do go through with it, the blame'll be on you, not them. Anyway, I keep stopping. (13.24)
This is a big conversation we need to have here. Check out Holden's "Character Analysis" for a big argument.