The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield Quotes
"Would you care for a cigarette?" I asked her.
She looked all around. "I don't believe this is a smoker, Rudolf," she said. Rudolf. That killed me.
"That's all right. We can smoke till they start screaming at us," I said. She took a cigarette off me, and I gave her a light.
She looked nice, smoking. She inhaled and all, but she didn't wolf the smoke down, the way most women around her age do. She had a lot of charm. She had quite a lot of sex appeal, too, if you really want to know. (8.24-27)
For being a sexually insecure sixteen-year-old, Holden has guts. We might need to think twice before writing him off as a socially inept kid.
She was really a moron. But what a dancer. I could hardly stop myself from sort of giving her a kiss on the top of her dopey head – you know – right where the part is, and all. She got sore when I did it.
"Hey! What's the idea?"
"Nothing. No idea. You really can dance," I said. "I have a kid sister that's only in the goddam fourth grade. You're about as good as she is, and she can dance better than anybody living or dead." (10.25-27)
Although he values intelligence in women, Holden often lets physical appearances cloud his judgment.
"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.