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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

Sexuality and Sexual Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

"If you didn't go to New York, where'd ya go with her?" I asked him, after a little while. I could hardly keep my voice from shaking all over the place. Boy, was I getting nervous. I just had a feeling something had gone funny.

[…]

Stradlater kept taking these shadow punches down at my shoulder. He had his toothbrush in his hand, and he put it in his mouth. "What'd you do?" I said. "Give her the time in Ed Banky's goddam car?" My voice was shaking something awful.

[…]

This next part I don't remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddam throat open. (6.26-35)

Holden is so angered by the thought of Stradlater and Jane because she's the only girl, as far as we can tell, that he has genuine feelings for. Since he can't reconcile respect for a girl with lusting after her, anything sex-related means she's being disrespected. Then again, it's Stradlater, so what are the odds that there is any respect in the first place.

Quote #5

Most guys at Pencey just talked about having sexual intercourse with girls all the time – like Ackley, for instance – but old Stradlater really did it. I was personally acquainted with at least two girls he gave the time to. That's the truth. (7.32)

Because Holden’s still uncomfortable with his own sexuality, he’s fascinated (and frankly kind of grossed out by) a guy who’s so obviously comfortable being with women. (Maybe a little too comfortable, if you ask us.)

Quote #6

I kept laying there in the dark anyway, though, trying not to think about old Jane and Stradlater in that goddam Ed Banky's car. But it was almost impossible. The trouble was, I knew that guy Stradlater's technique. That made it even worse. We once double-dated, in Ed Banky's car, and Stradlater was in the back, with his date, and I was in the front with mine. What a technique that guy had. What he'd do was, he'd start snowing his date in this very quiet, sincere voice – like as if he wasn't only a very handsome guy but a nice, sincere guy, too. I damn near puked, listening to him. His date kept saying, "No – please. Please, don't. Please." But old Stradlater kept snowing her in this Abraham Lincoln, sincere voice, and finally there'd be this terrific silence in the back of the car. It was really embarrassing. I don't think he gave that girl the time that night – but damn near. Damn near. (7.40)

Quick: name one positive sexual experience that Holden describes. We’ll wait.

[…]

You can’t do it, right? His entire experience of sex is like this: coercion, convincing, and possible molestation.

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